For illustrative purposes, consider one prominent British patent firm (the firm’s name is omitted for privacy purposes).
Overall, the considered representatives received 8,485 and sent 1,125 cases between 2015 and 2020. These numbers include both cases where applicants and the focal firm were in charge of the international patent application flow decision.
As a side note, in Patent-Pilot’s definition, cases are not similar to filings, and the number of cases can be lower than the number of filings. In essence, a case is all applications within the same patent family represented by the same agent.
If we analyze the important partners and the number of sent and received cases without implementing the decision-maker filter, the picture looks somewhat unbalanced. The respective firm appeared to be reluctant to send work back to the majority of its international partners.
One way to find a partner for mutually beneficial exchange is to look at the overall volume of filings that this candidate sent to or received from other IP law firms.
However, the overall volume itself is a misleading indicator.
Indeed, the Patent-Pilot algorithm predicts that in 28% of all sent cases, the firm’s clients were presumed decision-makers and in 72% – for received ones. In 74%, the firm itself determined the subsequent foreign representatives, and only in 26% – it was in charge of the decision from where and from whom to receive the filings.
Therefore, there is a clear need to filter out patent filings for which the clients’ preferences defined IP law firms in the foreign jurisdiction and use the decision-maker filter. Now the picture looks somewhat different. The focal IP law firm was in charge of 665 sent cases and only 2,303 received cases. These numbers represent the actual share of the volume that the considered firm can potentially send to the foreign partners.
Further, once not bound by the applicants’ choice of the subsequent foreign representatives, the patent firm tended to establish relatively balanced relations with its partners. Please note that the list of partners displayed on the left-hand side of the graph also slightly changed.
As evident from the discussion above, to discern the actual international filing strategy and estimate the number of filings sent and received by a potential foreign partner, it is essential to disregard cases for which clients’ preferences predetermined the international case exchange. It is, therefore, crucial to understand who was the decision-maker behind the case flow.
Decision-maker information is not available anywhere in the raw patent data. In this regard, Patent-Pilot’s algorithm and decision-maker feature are of a high value for the IP law firms as it allows to see the behavior and find the right partner IP law firms.