Trends in the U.S. Patent Procurement Bar
The division between upper end law practice and the patent boutiques is manifested by the fact that just the top twenty law firms in the country cumulatively have far greater numbers of attorneys than all registered patent attorneys and agents combined. The top twenty firms average only 65 registered
patent practitioners per thousand attorneys; in contrast, the percentage for the four largest patent procurement firms that together obtain more than 12,000 patents per year is tenfold greater. Vis a vis the more than 25,000 lawyers that populate the top twenty law firms, there are no more than 900 registered patent attorneys or agents in the top twenty firms. This speaks to the growing polarization and lack of influence of the patent procurement bar in leadership councils in the United States.
The sharp separation of the patent practice into two camps is seen from the concentration of large volumes of procurement work in the hands of patent processing specialists often with only agency experience: Just four firms within a short distance from the Patent and Trademark Office alone account for the grant of more than 12,000 patents per year; the huge bulk comes from Asia with a lesser amount from Europe and domestic sources.