Pedram Sameni
Apr 18, 2024

Patent Insight 3: Firms Obtaining the Broadest Patent Claims for Apple

Patent Prosecution

In the competitive world of patent prosecution, where innovation meets legal complexities, the choice of the right patent law firm for your needs stands as a key decision. In the pursuit of securing broad claims, there are additional challenges encountered that demand a combination of technical expertise, legal insight, and strategic thinking.

In a previous patent insight, we presented a list of the top patent firms actively collaborating with Apple, sorted based on the sheer number of patents issued—a testament to their prolific involvement in securing patents. This week, our focus takes another turn as we get into a specialized analysis of patent firms associated with Apple, emphasizing not just quantity but quality. Our examination zeroes in on those firms that stand out in securing patents with broad claims. This evaluation is based on a key metric: the average word count of independent claims.

As shown above, the trajectory of issued patents for Apple reached its peak in 2020 with a count of 2,801, subsequently witnessing a decline that went as low as 2,282 issued patents in 2022. However, 2023 marked a resurgence, seeing 2,536 patents issued. Beyond the quantitative metrics, our Patent Analyzer deep dives into far more useful data than mere patent numbers.

We now automatically extract data from hundreds of thousands of PDF documents obtained from the file wrapper. This includes detailed attorney-level data, shedding light on those who are instrumental in the patent application process, as well as more technical parameters of the patent applications, such as citations, claim allowances, the ratio of claims from patent to application, and much more. This dataset acts as an invaluable resource for data-driven analyses, actively used by professionals across various roles within law firms and companies. Whether to promote their practice, check the competitive landscape, or make informed, data-driven decisions, this wealth of information is a constant source of actionable insights.

The "Average word count of independent claims" is a metric in patent analysis, which provides insights into the breadth and specificity of a patent. The independent claims in a patent document define the scope of protection granted to the inventor, and the average number of words in these claims is indicative of the level of detail and precision in describing the invention. Broad claims typically use fewer words to encompass a wide range of embodiments. They aim to cover a broad scope of the invention without getting into specific details. Such a patent with broad claims can be advantageous for the patent owner, as it provides a better defense against potential infringement. It allows the patentee to assert patent rights not only over the exact embodiments described but also over variations that are deemed equivalent. This can be crucial in a competitive market where innovations often involve incremental changes and improvements. Patent agents prefer drafting broad claims, however, patent examiners at the USPTO aim to restrict overly broad claims, narrowing them based on the prior art.

The table below spotlights the leading patent firms collaborating with Apple, sorted by the lowest average number of words for independent claims. These firms were chosen based on their track record of securing a minimum of 100 patents for Apple over the last five years (2019 through 2023). Beyond the aspect of broadness, the table also provides the count of office actions and the ratio of claim words from patent to application. These additional metrics offer a better perspective on these firms.

The ratio of number of words for independent claims from the patent to application indicates how much the attorney had to limit the scope of the claim in order to obtain the claim. Usually if the average number of words are low and the percentage is high, it means the attorney was able to start from a relatively short claim and during the prosecution they managed to keep it close to the original claim. This also often may indicate that there were not a lot of objections by the examiner. 


All Apple Patents  (2019-2023) 12,426   1.78 174.12 0.74
Law Firm / Agent  Patent Office Actions (Average) Average number of words for independent claims Ratio of claim words from patent to application (Average)
Treyz Law Group 1,118 1.86 121.36 0.81
Dorsey & Whitney LLP 313 2.02 126.44 0.76
Baker & Hostetler LLP 409 2.22 140.6 0.76
Fay Kaplun & Marcin, LLP 218 2.15 143.38 0.67
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck 687 1.67 146.69 0.71
Young Basile Hanlon & MacFarlane P.C. 278 1.88 149.86 0.79
Eschweiler and Potashnik, LLC 242 1.84 153.45 0.66
Kligler & Associates 181


154.71 0.79
Aikin & Gallant, LLP 155 1.4 158.47 0.7
Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox 309


159.61 0.71
Thompson Hine 108 1.55 163.5 0.73


Patexia's dedication to providing unparalleled insights and resources to its Concierge members extends to dedicated pages showcasing companies, law firms, and attorneys involved in obtaining U.S. patents. This exclusive space serves as a comprehensive hub, offering a range of KPIs such as the number of issued patents and applications, average office actions, the frequency of requested extensions for responding to office actions, patent pendency, and the number of interviews conducted between attorneys and examiners. These metrics not only offer a quantitative assessment but also provide a qualitative perspective on the efficiency and effectiveness of the patent prosecution process. Furthermore, each entity's profile includes yearly and monthly filings, issued patents, application status, a breakdown of foreign versus domestic filings, insights into the technology centers associated with the patents, and much more. This enables our Concierge members to gain comprehensive insights into the patent landscape, facilitating informed decision-making. 

One of the distinctive features of our offering is our own ranking methodology. The formula evaluates and ranks all stakeholders based on their activity and performance, and next year the updated ranking methodology will incorporate an assessment of patent quality, providing an even more refined measure of the entities' contributions to the patent landscape. We have just updated these rankings with the release of the Patent Intelligence Report 2024. This resource is available for free download for Concierge members and promises to be a cornerstone for those seeking the latest and most insightful perspectives on patent activity and performance. 

Stay tuned, as in the upcoming weeks, we will publish more in-depth analyses derived from the rich data provided by our Patent Analyzer