For all three, the percentage of 112 rejections received in their core areas – computer networks, communications and semiconductors / electrical – are at least as good if not better than the averages. Does it follow that these are the areas that these three specialize in and therefore they and their drafting law firms have developed proficiencies in? The biotechnology / organic technology center had relatively low filings, so the data in this area may not be conclusive. In the chemical and mechanical engineering technology centers we saw greater variety; all better than the average, but wide variations. In mechanical engineering for example, the industry average is for 48% of the Office actions to include a 112 rejection. Two of our three large filers came in at 40% and 46%, but Company B was significantly better at only 25%, despite not having a large volume in this technology center compared to their total number of Office actions. What have they put into practice in their filings that set them apart? Computer software was another category with one standout: Company A had only 18% of their Office actions with a 112 rejection, compared to a national average of 25% and their two peers at 26% and 23%.
In each case, we see the three following a similar pattern in terms of select technology centers with fewer percentages of 112 rejections, and other technology centers with higher percentages of Office actions with a 112 rejection. In each case, the three most prolific technology centers enjoy a lower rate of 112 rejections. This follows the national average. What is preventing these filers from applying their best practices in their core technology centers to other technology centers? What drives the differences in national averages by technology centers? Are some areas just harder to avoid 112 rejections?
Lastly, on an overall basis, these three filers see a dramatically lower incidence of 112 rejections among their Office actions. Compared to a national average of 37%, the three companies received 18%, 18% and 24% respectively. Clearly there is some focus and competence on behalf of the companies and their law firms.
Next month we plan to look at three more filers – those most active in the biochemical / organic and chemical technology sectors. Will we see similar variations?