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Apr 20, 2022Legal
Patexia Insight 133: Who are Apple’s Top Patent Attorneys?

Tomorrow we are releasing our 4th annual Patent Prosecution Intelligence Report. This year for the first time we have evaluated and ranked more than 27 thousand patent attorneys and agents in different categories. The report covers a 5-year period from January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2021. During this time, more than 117,000 entities applied and obtained US patents. Apple is the largest company by market capitalization globally and the 11th most active patentee based on our 2022 report. This week we are going to take a closer look at the activity of the company’s top patent attorneys who have represented Apple before the USPTO during this time.

We have been able to process tens of millions of documents available through the USPTO Public PAIR, using Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques developed over the last few years by our Data Science team. This enabled us to identify the attorney/agent who was responsible for each application and for example was named on the ADS document. We used this to calculate the activity and performance scores for more than 27,000 attorneys and agents and as a result, rank the top attorneys in different categories.

As a side benefit of this process, we are now able to identify the attorneys who are representing different companies and assess their level of activity for each of their clients. This not only helps our client with business intelligence, but also our recruiting division can use this data to work with different partners and find the best lateral opportunities for them.

This week we are going to take a closer look at attorneys who are representing Apple, the globe’s largest company by market capitalization.

The above chart shows the top five patent firms that Apple works with. The data covers Apple’s utility patents for a 5-year period from 2017 through 2021. We had previously covered some of these firms in Patexia Insight 55 and Patexia Insight 77 for prior years. During these five years, Apple has worked with a total of 48 law firms and 618 patent attorneys or agents. 

 

Apple11,90795.87%93.10%1.890.5931.7
Patent FirmPatentsAllow.

Claim

Allow.

OA
(Avg)
Ext.
(Avg)

Pendency

(Avg)

Kowert, Hood, Munyon, Rankin & Goetze2,04998.67%95.73%1.580.1828.2
Treyz Law Group1,06197.92%88.85%1.970.0828.1
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton82992.61%93.50%1.460.6127.9
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck77697.75%91.24%2.180.6833.6
Dentons71298.36%98.14%1.991.2633.9

 

Compared to the data from previous years, Kowert, Hood, Munyon, Rankin & Goetzel and Treyz Law Group kept their first and second positions, respectively. Womble Bond, although remaining one of the top firms for Apple in patent prosecution, has lost its position in the top five and now Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck moved up one position to the third and fourth positions, respectively. Dentons is now taking the fifth place. Apple has collaborated with the firm quite extensively in the last several years. All of these top five law firms combined have secured 5,345 utility patents for Apple or almost 45% of the total of 11,907 utility patents the company obtained in the last five years (the top row shows those averages for the entire company).

The following table shows the top 10 attorneys who worked for Apple during this time and some statistics related to their work:

 

Apple  11,9071.890.5931.7
AttorneyLocationLaw Firm

Patents

OA
(Avg)
Ext.
(Avg)

Pendency

(Avg)

Jeffrey Carl HoodAustin, TXKowert, Hood, Munyon, Rankin & Goetzel6221.560.1226.7
G. Victor TreyzScottsdale, AZTreyz Law Group4712.090.1130.1
Robert C KowertAustin, TXKowert, Hood, Munyon, Rankin & Goetzel28320.2631.2
Michael G FletcherHouston, TXFletcher Yoder, P.C.2552.120.331.7
Brian B. HoSan Francisco, CADentons2541.720.9428
James C. Scheller JrPalo Alto, CAWomble Bond Dickinson23221.2333.7
Christopher B. EidePalo Alto, CADentons2162.031.2431.4
Daniel J. KliglerTel Aviv, IsraelKligler & Associates2011.410.0625.6
Michael J. MarcinNew York, NYFay Kaplun & Marcin1931.950.6629.7
S. Craig HemenwayDenver, COBrownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck1812.710.8637.9

 

Some quick observations:

  • Some of the attorneys among the top 10 are from firms other than the top five.
  • While Apple is headquartered in California, the busiest attorneys are from Texas and Scottsdale.
  • Apple engages firms outside of the US as long as they can meet its high quality. For example, Daniel Klingler who has one of the best stats with almost no time extension request, is located in Tel Aviv, Israel.
  • The partners at Dentons were originally handling Apple’s work at Morrison Foesters but they left in 2017 and took Apple with them when they joined Dentons. Brian Ho is currently the Co-Lead of IP at Dentons. Morrison Foesters also lost another group who were handling Apple’s work in 2019. Glenn Kubota and Erol Basol left in 2019 to form Kubota & Basol. They are also quickly rising on our list but they are not in the top 10 yet.


With the addition of attorney data, we have now updated our powerful Patent Analyzer. This enables corporations and law firms to evaluate their attorneys and compare them with their competitors. The analysis can be done at multiple levels. For example the data can be filtered or grouped by many variables such as technology centers, art units, IPC codes, etc. to make sure the comparison is fair. This kind of tool should be a part of any organization that takes innovation and IP seriously. Companies such as Apple with billions of dollars in R&D spending should watch these metrics carefully and constantly make sure they get the quality they need from their patent counsels.

Our 4th Patent Prosecution Intelligence Report will be released tomorrow (April 21st, 2022). The report is on sale until tomorrow and can be pre-ordered (last day)! The complete report evaluates more than 117,000 patentees, 3500 law firms and 27000 attorneys or agents and provides rankings and statistics for the top 2500 most active patent practitioners, 1000 law firms and 1000 patentees.

In the following weeks we will continue our coverage of best IP practitioners in different areas of IP including ITC and patent prosecution. Stay tuned!

 

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