How to Compare Patent Prosecution Performances

How to Compare Patent Prosecution Performances

May 24, 2021

Comparing the effectiveness of two patent practitioners can be like comparing apples to oranges. The success of a patent application is dependent on many factors that are beyond a patent practitioner’s control, which makes it difficult to compare patent prosecution performances throughout the patent process. For example, one might initially conclude that Practitioner A, who has an 80% patent allowance rate, is more successful than Practitioner B with a 70% allowance rate. However, it is hard to be certain who is more successful, since Practitioner A’s patent applications could have been evaluated by more patent-friendly patent examiners.  

The LexisNexis PatentAdvisor® patent prosecution platform not only offers a solution for understanding USPTO patent examiner difficulty levels, but it also allows patent practitioners to communicate how their patent performance stacks up against competitors to help win over prospective clients. 

Normalizing examiner difficulty with PatentAdvisor ETA™ 

The biggest challenge in comparing the success of two patent practitioners is analyzing the difficulty of the patent examiners they have faced. Each USPTO patent examiner varies in their experience levels, the technologies they evaluate and their knowledge. To further complicate matters, each patent examiner’s difficulty level fluctuates throughout their career. Traditional  patent statistics fail to account for all of these variables, and can therefore, be poor gauges of examiner difficulty. Determining patent examiner difficulty levels can be done with an original patent metric produced using a sophisticated algorithm that takes into account the circumstances surrounding patent prosecution; more specifically, the PatentAdvisor ETA exclusive metric

With PatentAdvisor™, users can access each USPTO patent examiner’s ETA value to determine their relative difficulty compared to all other USPTO patent examiners. Higher ETA values are associated with difficult patent examiners and indicate long patent prosecution durations and higher volumes of office actions. The PatentAdvisor platform also labels patent examiners as either “green,” “yellow” or “red” based on their ETA scores, which allows users to quickly determine if their assigned examiners are relatively easy, moderate or difficult, respectively. 

PatentAdvisor ETA

PatentAdvisor efficiency score and practitioner performance

With an effective way of determining USPTO examiner difficulty levels, the opportunity to evaluate the performance of patent practitioners presents itself. A measure of examiner difficulty levels produces a better understanding of how patent prosecution is likely to proceed against a specific patent practitioner. PatentAdvisor compares the actual performance of each patent application against its expected performance, and the performance is then scored based on how far it exceeds or falls below expectations. The scores of all the patent applications prosecuted by a patent practitioner are then combined to produce their Efficiency Score™—the best basis for comparing the performances of patent practitioners. 


Without PatentAdvisor ETA and Efficiency Score metrics to compare patent prosecution performances it can be like comparing apples to oranges. PatentAdvisor proprietary algorithms and patent metrics help users evaluate examiner difficulties and performances against individual USPTO patent examiners. With objective measures of success in patent prosecution, patent practitioners can better evaluate their performances against those of competing practitioners, helping them to better present themselves and win over prospective patent clients. 

Learn more about PatentAdvisor and the PatentAdvisor ETA.

Explore more on how to use patent examiner intel data to understand USPTO examiners.

For more on patent examiner intel watch the on-demand webinar Patent Prosecution Analytics: No Longer Just a Nice to Have and read the overview here.

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