The Largest Patent Prosecution Firms in the US

The United States is one of the most innovative countries in the world and a hot spot for foreign applicants seeking protection for their intellectual property. Following the trend, American representatives were among the leaders in the volumes of patent applications they prosecuted between 2018 and 2022.

According to IP Pilot’s data, 3,763 patent prosecution firms in the US handled roughly 2,507,377 patent applications in the considered time frame. Overall, American associates retained their historically strong positions in the number of represented filings. In this respect, the US agents were outperformed only by Chinese colleagues.

Rank: Largest 50 Patent Prosecution Firms in the US

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Top 50 US IP law firms prosecuted over 32% of the total filings within the considered time frame. At the same time, the upper 15 agents handled 15%, implying a somewhat high concentration of work in the American patent market (especially given that 3,763 is the overall number of active representatives).

Among the most significant 20 US IP law firms, SUGHRUE MION, PLLC (6%) and STERNE, KESSLER, GOLDSTEIN & FOX P.L.L.C. (4%), underwent the highest increase in the volume of prosecuted patent filings in 2022, standing out in this group, which on average had a decrease of -9% between the years 2021 and 2022. As for the average growth between 2018 and 2022, PERKINS COIE LLP (34%), STERNE, KESSLER, GOLDSTEIN & FOX P.L.L.C. (34%) and SUGHRUE MION, PLLC (19%) were on the surge.

The top 5 patent prosecution firms in the US represented more than 5,500 patent applications per year. According to the average numbers since 2018 and up until 2022, FISH & RICHARDSON took the leading position, handling 9,342 filings yearly. The law firm was followed by SUGHRUE MION, PLLC and OBLON, MCCLELLAND, MAIER & NEUSTADT, LLP with 6,766 and 6,310 patent applications on average.

Overall Patent Landscape in US

Roughly 63% of all the filings represented by the US patent prosecution firms had domestic origins and 37% – foreign ones. This implies a relatively high focus of the representatives on the local clients, which is unsurprising given that the United States is one of the innovative nations in the world. Among the most significant IP law firms, FISH & RICHARDSON, CANTOR COLBURN LLP, HARNESS, DICKEY & PIERCE, P.L.C. , and MORGAN, LEWIS & BOCKIUS LLP somewhat stroke a balance between domestic and foreign patents filings in their portfolio.

OBLON, MCCLELLAND, MAIER & NEUSTADT, LLP, SUGHRUE MION, PLLC, BIRCH, STEWART, KOLASCH & BIRCH, LLP, and OLIFF PLC were to a certain extent more focused on patent applications coming from abroad. For those firms, the proportion of prosecuted foreign filings versus domestic ones was higher than 80%, indicating the rather inbound orientation of agents’ business strategy.

SCHWEGMAN, LUNDBERG & WOESSNER, P.A., PATTERSON + SHERIDAN and WILSON SONSINI GOODRICH & ROSATI were the IP law firms among the top 20, which primarily handled local filings, thus, adhering more to the outbound approach.

US: Shares of Foreign Filings per Firm 2018-2022

Case Exchange Trends

As for the international patent case exchange, Japan, China, Germany, Korea, and the UK were the primary American foreign partners in the considered time frame. The US sent most of the cases (125,970) to China, accounting for 22% of the total sent amount. At the same time, American representatives received high volumes from Japan (231,736 cases), which is 34% of the overall received filings.

Law Firms Receiving Most Cases from US: Country Breakdown 2018-2022
Law Firms Sending Most Cases to US: Country Breakdown 2018-2022

To sum up, the United States is one of the world’s innovation hubs and an attractive market for incoming patent applications. Unsurprisingly, American IP law firms were among the leaders in volumes of represented filings. A high proportion of the patent applications was prosecuted by the Top 50 IP law firms, indicating the relatively intense concentration of work at the hands of the most prominent agents. Given the overall innovativeness of the nation, the local representatives were slightly more focused on domestic applicants. Considering international case exchange, the leading three Asian innovators and the two most attractive markets within Europe were the key partners of the US representatives.

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