A Statistical Analysis of the Patent Bar: Where Are the Software-Savvy Patent Attorneys?

June 16, 2012

Among the many factors that impact the declining quality of U.S. patents is the increasing disconnect between the technological education patent bar members have and the fields in which patents are being written. Based on an empirical study, the authors show that too few patent attorneys and agents have relevant experience in the most often patented areas today, such as computer science. An examination of the qualification practices of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) suggests that an institutional bias exists within the PTO that prevents software-savvy individuals from registering with the Office. The paper concludes with suggestions of how the identified problems can be corrected.