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REVIEW OF PATENT LAW FIRM DISCUSSIONS OF CLIENTS'
PATENT CONSUMER PROTECTIONS AND COSTS



Patents are consumer products, the consumer being (corporate) inventors, a multi-billion dollar a year product manufacturing industry. Over 500,000 patent products (applications) are manufactured (written) each year in the United States- with no warranties. Patent applicants are due the entire bevy of consumer protection laws and consumer product advisories. And they are expensive products, easily costing over $40,000 to get a patent written and examined. And consumer protection is needed in the patent world, when a major law firm can quote, apparently with approval, a statistic that "... up to 97% of all patents are of low value". Lower than ... the $40,000+ spent to acquire the patent, making the statistic economically equivalent to "... up to 97% of all patents are worthless"? Yes, massive consumer protection is needed.

Why? There are so many ways that the patent system and the patent courts are hostile to inventors seeking protection for the innovations, and destructive of their patents. (see New York Times, 16 April 2022, editorial from the entire Editorial Board: "... The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is in dire need for reform"). High-priced consumer IP product companies - i.e., patent law firms - IOOOO, should explain more on their Web sites of this hostility/destruction and how they help inventors fight this hostility. And given the high costs, firms should explain fees, pre- and post-issuance, and patent insurance (which helps reduce costs). But sadly, most law firms say ... nothing. NOTHING. The US Patent and Trademark Office does offer some advice (e.g., in MPEP), but the law firms need to do so much, much, more (especially because MPEP is a difficult read for anyone, let alone non-lawyers).



Patent Litigation-Only Firms:

A word of caution. IOOOO, you should avoid patent law firms that do patent prosecution AND patent litigation for non-prosecution defendant-clients, and prefer patent law firms that only do patent prosecution and patent enforcement litigation. The former are law firms that, IOOOO, are in ethical conflict: one group of their lawyers thinks most patents (ideally) are valid - the prosecutors, ... while another group of their lawyers think that most patents (ideally) are invalid - the litigators. Such a firm, a patent law philosophical chimera, will never fight for a higher quality patent system (law firms make their money on patent litigation, as patent prosecution is a loss-leader).

On the other hand, there are some law firms that just focus on patent litigation. IOOOO, probably realizing the futility (and low-profits) of obtaining high-quality patents for their clients that can survive the gauntlet of post-grant attacks. Thus, one patent strategy you can use is to seek patents with a law firm that only does patent prosecution to get your patent (and only does patent enforcement litigation), and another law firm that only does patent litigation to enforce your patent. The chimeras are too ethically conflicted. Here is a brief list of patent litigation-only law firms. Be careful if you hire a large patent litigation law firm. In April 2022, the law firm Dentons was ordered by an appeals court to pay a former client $32 million in a malpractice judgement. In a patent lawsuit, two different offices of Dentons (one in the US, one in Canada) provided legal representation on both sides of the lawsuit. The court awarded the $32 million to the patent owner, RevoLaze, because Dentons didn't obtain sufficient written consent from all parties before the lawsuit.


REVIEWS OF WEB SITES OF PATENT LAW FIRMS


THE FEW LAW FIRMS THAT EXPLAIN SOME OF PATENT LAW

Fish & Richardson:

Kudos to Fish & Richardson, one of the few patent law firms that explains on their Web site some of the basics of patent law and its complexities. Their explanations, with a few more sentences (quote some fees?), would be much more powerful patent consumer advice.

But at least they explain some of the basics of patent law to start educating consumers of their services, unlike most of the following firms that explain nothing. Nothing.

Their Web page, Introduction to Patent Claims (August 2020), is a nice brief intro to patent claims (and reading this, you have to wonder, why doesn't every law firm offer something similar?). Nicer is mentioning that patent claims can't be enforced outside the United States (which affects server and design patents), that Beauregard claims are used to protect software inventions - even if not part of the law (which everyone agrees to ignore), and mentioning the importance of reasonably-defining of claim terms (which arises in claim construction in litigation) - that would be nice.

Their web page, An overview of utility patents in the United States, could mention that U.S. utility patents can't be enforced outside the United States (a huge problem in the global cloud computing era). The page could mention that once you get a patent, it can be challenged in multiple forums (USPTO appeals, court cases) by competitors hiring patent litigators. Their Web page: Functional Claims does not discuss the threat to functional claims due to the incoherent "abstract" caselaw of the courts (and functional claims do appear 'abstract' to computer-illiterate judges). And for the record, the USPTO has never published a summary of public comments with regards to potential definitions for the undefined 'functional', despite its RFC over a decade ago.

Their Web page: What is Patentable Subject Matter?, while much discussing 'abstract' (again, if Fish can discuss, so too can many other law firms - geesh!), does not mention that even high-level federal judges (on the CAFC) themselves have admitted that most of the caselaw for 'abstract' is incoherent and contradictory, making it almost impossible for anyone to know how to write claims that aren't 'abstract'. On their collection of Patent Law Essentials web pages, it would be nice to discuss the importance of prior art searching.

IOOOO, more explanation by Fish of the above would be nice.

But at least they explain some of the basics of patent law to start educating consumers of their services, unlike many of the following firms that explain nothing. Nothing.


Patent lawyer Russ Krajec, of BlueIron IP, has prepared the following graphic illustrating the cost of acquiring a patent. While some of his estimates are a bit high (a good prior art search can be had for $2000, not $4400; patent drafting for $10,000 not $12,000, etc.), the average cost to acquire a patent can easily be between $30,000 and $60,000, if not more. If your law firm is not upfront about such potential costs, find another patent law firm. Would you buy an automobile (which costs similarly) if you were told the final price AFTER you signed the (engagement) contract?


Every consumer product (i.e., patents) patent law firm should have data similar to Russ' on their Web site. Some "dealer posted prices" would be nice. Where the FiretrUCK is the FTC?

LAW FIRMS THAT DON'T DISCUSS THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ASPECTS OF PATENT LAW
Sadly, IOOOO, the general attitude summed up below seems to be: "An uninformed consumer is the best customer to have." Reprehensible for a consumer product (a patent - an article of commerce manufactured by patent lawyers, patents being UCC Sect. 2-105 industrial "goods") that can easily cost $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 and more to buy. Consumer products, which according to a Finnegan Henderson quote of industry analysts, are oh so worthless "... that up to 97% of patents fall into the low value category ...". (IOOOO, do the people at Finnegan understand the statistical law of large numbers, which, given the large numbers of patents that Finnegan prosecutes, this "up to 97%" applies to Finnegan's prosecuted patents?) Does this 97% statistic, if true, be evidence of all patent lawyers collectively trying to prove the 'infinite monkey theorem' for high-quality patents? Would anyone buy (or be allowed to buy) a new car if 97% of them were of "low value" as soon as they drove the car off the dealer's lot?


On their Web pages related to patents, the following patent law firms, with regards to patent owners/applications as consumer/products:



Alston & Bird: their Web pages linked to: Patent Prosecution, Counseling & Review -- no such discussions

Amin Turocy Watson: their Web page: Patent Prosecution -- no such discussions

Amster Rothstein & Ebenstein: their Web page: Practice Areas: Patent -- no such discussions

Armstrong Teasdale: their Web page: Services: Patent Prosecution -- no such discussions

Benoit & Cote: their Web page, Services: Patents -- no such discussions

Berkeley Law & Technology Group: their Web page: Patent Services -- no such discussions
       One of the few firms to mention Alice, though
       they give no explanation, so why bother?

Birch, Stewart, Kolasch & Birch: their Web page: Services: Prosecution -- no such discussions
       They do have a decent, well organized, collection of articles on patent law.

Boyle Fredrickson: their web page: Practice Areas - Patents -- no such discussions

Carr/Ferrell: their Web page: IP Law Practice: Patents -- no such discussions

Cooley: their web page: Patent Counseling and Prosecution -- no such discussions

Cozen O'Connor: their web page: Practices: Intellectual Property: Patents -- no such discussions
       They seem to emphasize their litigation prowess more than prosecution.

Dentons: their web page: Practices: IP and Technology: Patents -- no such discussions

Dergosits & Noah: their web page: Patent Preparation and Prosecution -- no such discussions

Dority & Manning: their web page: Prosecution and Counseling -- no such discussions

Faegre Drinker Biddle: their web page: Patent -- no such discussions
       IOOOO, they should consider hiring some ex-PTO people to learn more about these issues.

Fenwick & West: their web page: Practices: Patent -- no such discussions

Finch Paolino: their Web pages: Services: Patent Application Preparation and Prosecution, and
     Services: Strategic IP Counseling -- no such discussions

Foley & Lardner: their web page: Intellectual Property -- no such discussions

Garlick & Markison: their web page: Practice Areas: Strategic Patent and IP Development -- no such discussions
       While they mention they offer "fixed-fee services", they don't list any fees.

Greenberg Traurig: their web page: Patent Prosecution -- no such discussions
       IOOOO, it is probably hard to concentrate on such stuff when you live and work, e.g., in Santa Monica. That is "all I wanna do".

Greenblum & Bernstein: their web page: Practices: Patents -- no such discussions

Hayes Soloway: their web page: Patents -- no such discussions

Heslin Rothenberg Farley Mesiti: their web page: Services: Patents -- no such discussions

Hunton Andrews Kurth: their web page: Practices: Patent Procurement and Management -- no such discussions
       They mention that they are responsible for the "management of more than
       23,000 patent matters
". They might want to ask Finnegan if what Finnegan quotes:
       "up to 97% of all patents are of low value", applies to Hunton's 23,000.

Husch Blackwell: their Web page, Capabilities: Patent Preparation & Prosecution -- no such discussions

Iandiorio Teska & Coleman: their Web page: Legal Expertise: Patents -- no such discussions

Jones Day: their web page, Intellectual Property -- no such discussions

Katten Muchin Rosenman: their web page, Patent Litigation and Patents -- no such discussions
       One of the few firms to mention "patent minefields", though
       without explaining any of the "mines". They also rightly mention
       "risks" a few times (of which there are many), without mentioning
       patent insurance to minimize risks. Sigh.

Kowert, Hood, Munyon, Rankin & Goetzel: their web page: Practice Areas -- no such discussions

Lempia Summerfield Katz: their web page: Services -- no such discussions

Liang & Cheng: their Web page: About Us -- no such discussions

Maschoff Brennan: their Web page: IP Prosecution: Patents -- no such discussions

McCarter English: their Web page: Service: Intellectual Property: Patents -- no such discussions

McCoy Russell: their Web page: Services -- no such discussions

McDermott Will Emery: their Web page: Patent Portfolio -- no such discussions

Merchant & Gould: their web pages: Practices: Electrical & Software, Practices: Chemical & Life Sciences, and Practices: Mechanical -- no such discussions

Millen White Zelano Branigan: their web page: Patent -- no such discussions
       They have a nice collection of articles commenting on IP law at: News and Events

Morgan Lewis: their web page: Patent (and sub-pages such as Electrical Patents and Software Patents) -- no such discussions

Moore & Van Allen: their web page: Capabilities: Patent -- no such discussions

Morrison & Foerster: their web page: Patent Strategy + Prosecution -- no such discussions

Nath, Goldberg, Meyer: their web page: Our Services: Domestic Prosecution -- no such discussions
       Mention "high quality, cost effective" without defining 'quality' or explaining their 'costs'

Nixon Vanderhye: their web page: What We Do: Patents -- no such discussions

Norton Rose Fulbright: their web pages: Services: Intellectual Property, and Services: Patents -- no such discussions

Oliff PLC: their web page: Our Practice: Patent Prosecution -- no such discussions

Osha Bergman Watanbe Burton: their web page: Practice Areas: Patent Prosecution -- no such discussions

Ostrolenk Faber: their Web page: Patent Practice & Services -- no such discussions
       Quote: "All Ostrolenk attorneys invest the time required to do the job right." 'Time' at what hourly billable rate?

Parson Behle: the web page: Patent Prosecution. -- no such discussions
      However, on one of their Webpages written by one of their associates, James Meader,
       they are one of the few firms to mention ANY pricing information. He writes:
       "... the average cost to prepare and file a single patent application
       in the electrical and computer field was nearly $11,000. That can be
       a staggering amount for businesses of any size.
"

Patterson Thuente: their web page: Patents: Insurance for Profits -- no such discussions
       Yes, a quality patent can help ensure that you reap the profits of your innovations.
       And this 'insurance' can be made more powerful with ... real patent insurance!!!.
       One PT lawyer, Brad Pedersen, wrote a rightly critical article in April 2022:
       Set better standards for quality to save the U.S. patent system.
       By 'better' he means 'any'. I quote Brad: "Even after decades of
       criticism surrounding poor-quality patents, the USPTO has yet to
       define what is meant by 'quality' in a way that can be used to
       objectively distinguish bad patents from good patents.
"
       Brad, you will be glad to know that patent insurance provides
       the objective measure of quality you are calling for!
       Every patent law firm should write such an article.
       Biased note: Brad once bought me the best chicken wings I ever had.

Pillsbury Winthrop: their web page: Patent Counseling, Prosecution & Litigation -- no such discussions

Procopio Cory: their Web page: Practices: Patent Prosecution and Counseling -- no such discussions
One kudo for Procopio is that they recognize the importance of helping their clients make money - the non-parasitical, symbiotic model that few other patent law firms offer. Procopio has their own incubator, Launchpad by Procopio based in San Diego, a nine-month program that offers a fair amount of support. More patent law firms should offer the same (if your law firm has an incubator, please let us know).

Quarles & Brady: their web page: Patent Prosecution -- no such discussions
       Kudos for a bit of poetry: "... help our clients peel back the
       layers of the proverbial onion and reveal protectable concepts
"

RatnerPrestia: their web page: Practice Areas -- no such discussions

Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt: their web page: IP: Services: Patents -- no such discussions

Scully Scott Murphy Presser: their web page: Practice Areas: Patents -- no such discussions
       They have a blog

Seed IP Law Group: their web page: Services: Patent -- no such discussions

Snell & Wilmer: their Web page: Services: Patents -- no such discussions

Staas & Halsey: their Web page: Practices: Patents -- no such discussions

Sterne Kessler Goldstein Fox: their Web page: Services: Patent Prosecution: Utility Patents -- no such discussions

Tautz, Schuhmacher: their Home page: Patent Applications & Prosecution -- no such discussions

Thomas Horstemeyer: their Web page: Services: Patents -- no such discussions

Thompson Coburn: their Web page: Practices: Patent Prosecution -- no such discussions

Troutman Pepper: their Web page: Patent Prosecution, Counseling + Portfolio Management -- no such discussions

Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati: their web page: Patents and Innovation -- no such discussions

Van Pelt, Yi & James: their web page: Services -- no such discussions

Wolf Greenfield: their web pages: Patent Services Overview and Patent Publications -- no such discussions
       They have a box, "Q&A Patents: if you are new to patents, download our Q&A on Patents booklet".
       There is no link to the booklet in the box (as of June 2022) on these pages (Brown M&Ms test, folks).

Womble Bond Dickinson: their web pages: Services: Intellectual Property, and Services: Patents -- no such discussions

Woods, Rogers: their web page: Practices & Industries: Intellectual Property -- no such discussions

Workman Nydegger: their web page: Services: Patents -- no such discussions

Young Basile: their web page: Practice Area: Patent -- no such discussions



US Patent and Trademark Office:

The issue of transnational patent enforcement (when an invention can be easily moved offshore), IOOOO, is as deadly a problem as the death-gauntlet of 101 caselaw that declares every invention to be 'abstract' and thus invalid, or of 103 caselaw that declares every invention to be 'obvious' and thus invalid.

On their Web page,
General information concerning patents, 4th paragraph, at least the USPTO explains in brief what law firms below should be explaining in detail: "... U.S. patent grants are effective only within the United States, U.S. territories, and U.S. possessions...". This constraint seriously greatly devalues computing server and method claims, which appear in most software patents. This issue also greatly devalues patents for expensive products. Given the utter failure of law firms to explain this on their Web sites, the USPTO might want to discuss this on their Web pages to help protect inventors. The USPTO should point to the ClearCorrect case in the above-mentioned 4th paragraph of MPEP.

Patent law firms should also emphasize more strongly the importance of prior art searching (or at least point to the following USPTO web page), as does the USPTO at their web page, Seven Step Strategy for Patent Searching. I will only criticize the USPTO here for not including an 8th step which is not done by the majority of patent applicants (rendering their patents much worthless): SEARCH THE NON-PATENT PRIOR ART!. And both patent law firms and the Patent Office should discuss patent insurance, which has a great impact on the value of issued patents (IOOOO, a 'duly' issued patent without having a duly issued patent enforcement insurance policy is worthless).



LAW FIRMS THAT DON'T DISCUSS THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ASPECTS OF PATENT LAW, WHILE STAYING STUFF THAT THE SPO, IOOOO, WOULDN'T SAY

On their Web pages related to patents, the following patent law firms ALSO, with regards to patent owners/applications as consumer/products:

They do make some comments on the patent system, but IOOOO, they might want to consider eliminating the trite and trivial comments.



Artegis Law Group: TBC (to be commented)



Baker Botts: TBC


Banner Witcoff: TBC


Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney: TBC


Cantor Colburn: TBC


Carter DeLuca: TBC


Conley Rose: TBC


Christensen O'Connor Johnson Kindness: TBC


Crowell Moring: TBC


Dechert: TBC


Duane Morris: TBC


Edell Shapiro & Finnan: TBC


Finnegan (Henderson): TBC


Fitch Even: TBC


Fletcher Yoder: TBC


Ganter Law Firm: their Web page: Areas of Practice: Patents -- no such discussions
While they don't say much about the dangers of the patent system, they do at least explain to potential clients what a US patent is. They briefly discuss the difference between utility, design and plant patents; and they brief discuss the difference between provisional and non-provisional patent applications. The SPO suggests a few additions. First, they state about provisionals "... one year in which to refine the invention and test their invention in the marketplace". I would add "and safely speak to potential investors". They should also mention that provisional patent applications are not published (unless converted into non-provisionals). And if you are going to discuss provisionals, why not mention PCT filings, which in a sense are 30/32-month global provisionals (though published at 18 months)? Anyway, at least Ganter is doing some education.


Haley Guiliano: TBC


Harness Dickey: TBC


Haynes and Boone: TBC


Hodgson Russ: TBC


Jackson Walker: TBC


Knobbe Martens: TBC


Kramer Levin: TBC


Ladas & Parry: TBC


Leason Ellis: TBC


Leydig Voit: TBC


Locke Lord: TBC


Maier & Maier: TBC


Marshall Gerstein & Borun: TBC


Maynard Cooper Gale: TBC


McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff: TBC


Michael Best & Friedrich: TBC


Middleton Reutlinger: TBC


Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky Popeo: TBC


Muncy, Geissler, Olds & Lower: TBC


Oppedahl Patent Law Firm: TBC


Perkins Coie:


Renner Otto: TBC


Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner: TBC


Slater Matsil: TBC


Studebacker Brackett: TBC


Volpe Koenig: TBC


Wenderoth, Lind & Ponack: TBC


Withrow + Terranova: TBC


Woodard, Emhardt, Henry, Reeves & Wagner: TBC





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