Visual Learning: A Guide for Patent Professionals

Mar 30, 2020

Visual learners are those who understand information better when they can see it. While not everyone considers themselves “visual learners” (more so than any other sort, anyway), visual learning is, to varying degrees, a helpful tool for most of us. Visual elements have proven themselves especially beneficial for helping our understanding of complicated data and information, including the understanding of patent prosecution data and other information derived from the USPTO. Patent professionals who utilize patent prosecution data are likely to improve their efficiency and effectiveness in prosecuting patents, but USPTO data is only as good as one’s understanding of it. The LexisNexis PatentAdvisor® patent prosecution platform incorporates visual elements to help its users make the most of USPTO patent data for improved prosecution performance.

Understanding Patent Examiners

It is important to understand the history and tendencies of the patent examiner that will ultimately determine the fate of your patent application. When USPTO patent data is assessed without proper context, the possibility of misinterpretation increases, and performance suffers. In addition to providing important patent prosecution metrics, such as a patent examiner’s allowance rate or prosecution times, PatentAdvisor™ provides users with methods of visual learning and assessing a patent examiner’s difficulty relative to other patent examiners in the same art unit, as well as charts to help understand an examiner’s decision trends over time.

Viusalizing Art Units

When trying to evaluate a group of people—such as a patent art unit or technology center—graphs, charts and other visual cues provide insights that help users predict future events. When assessing all of the art units that could possibly be assigned to evaluate the patentability of a specific invention, PatentAdvisor users can see the makeup of easy, moderate or difficult patent examiners that comprise each art unit (which are color coded in PatentAdvisor as green, yellow and red, respectively), as well as their chances of receiving a difficult patent examiner when assigned to a specific USPTO art unit. With this information, patent practitioners can strategically draft their patent applications to have the best chance of being evaluated by an applicant-friendly patent examiner.

Interpreting Patent Portfolios

The more patents or patent applications that make up a patent portfolio, the more difficult the portfolio is to interpret without visual assistance. Things become even more complicated when the goal is to prioritize applications based on importance, viability, progress or other significant metrics. PatentAdvisor allows users to create digital folders containing selected patent applications and to visually explore the portfolio based on chosen parameters. Using the Visual Exploration tool, users can actually see how the patent applications within a portfolio are grouped, categorized and mapped out. Users are even provided with several options to filter or organize information based on basic application data (filing dates, art units, application types, etc.) and prosecution events (such as the number of office actions or rejection types issued).

Patent data helps patent professionals prosecute more efficiently and effectively, but it is through the process of visual learning and understanding patent data and statistics that users can best optimize prosecution outcomes. LexisNexis PatentAdvisor helps patent professionals visualize key information to help them make the most of USPTO patent data and to increase their likelihood of success.

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