Back in 2016, we looked at the Fastest Growing Patent Law Firms, or as we called them, "The Rainmaker Firms." Now two years later, we want to get a fresh look at which law firms are the fastest growing in terms of patent filings with the USPTO.
Firms can track growth in any number of ways, from increasing numbers of associates to a swelling bottom line. As competition develops between firms and as flat-fee prosecution becomes increasingly common, growing a book of business is of utmost importance.
To determine the Fastest Growing Firms, we measured the growth rate in filings by firms from 2006-2016. Rather than looking solely at the change in applications filed from 2006 to 2016, the growth rate is a measurement of how fast the filings increased in size during that particular period.
Those firms with the highest growth rates represent our 10 Fastest Growing Patent Law Firms: Cantor Colburn, Knobbe Martens, Muncy, Geissler, Olds & Lowe, Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner, Slater Matsil, Mintz, Studebaker & Bracket, Jefferson IP Law, McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff, and Patterson + Sheridan.
Although there is a considerable spread in annual filings for these 10 firms, interestingly, the overall trajectory seems to be quite similar. Each firm, except Muncy, Geissler, Olds & Lowe, saw at least one year-over-year drop in filings in the period between 2007-2009, as well as a general rise in filings through 2015. This trend broadly mirrors the USPTO as a whole and suggests that the Great Recession had a significant effect on new patent applications, and business, across the board.
How did we determine the 10 Fastest Growing Firms? Rather than looking solely at the change in applications filed from 2006 to 2016, our main metric of interest to determine the Fastest Growing Firms was the firm's growth rate during that period.
To calculate growth rate, we found the slope of the line of best fit for the firm's filings. A higher slope indicates a faster rate of growth. This tells us the speed of change and is independent of the actual number of applications filed, showing us which firms have been most aggressive in increasing their filings in recent years.
To start our analysis, we looked at firms at the time of disposition to give credit to the firm that took an application across the finish line. From there, we identified firms that filed at least 200 non-design (TC2900) applications from 2006-2016 and were still filing patents as of 2017. Among those, 760 firms experienced positive growth rates. Those with the top 10 fastest were named to our Fastest Growing list.
Is there a connection between firm size and growth rate? Our 10 Fastest Growing Firms are a familiar group of respected large and medium-sized firms, though we shouldn't assume their size is tied to growth. We found very little correlation between the average number of annual filings and the rate of growth in filings (0.15). There was also very little correlation between the rate of growth in filings and improvements in allowance rates (0.03). Of the 10 firms on our list, Cantor Colburn and Knobbe Martens are the only two to also be ranked among the overall largest filers.
Growth can be achieved by better-informed business development and more efficient patent prosecution. Juristat’s suite of tools, data, and analytics make it easy for you to set client expectations, plan an optimal prosecution strategy, monitor your competition, and strategically approach new clients. Get in contact with our team to see how Juristat can help your firm grow.