A recent article reports that IBM’s patent attorneys “filed more than 70 percent of the company’s patents in 2008 for software and services.” The article does not say what percentage of Big Blue’s hardware and other patent applications are generated in-house. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 16, June 2009 at 75, published this figure, which led me to wonder if there is any benchmark for how much patent prep and prosecution is typically done by a company’s lawyers.
My supposition is that the percentage is low, below ten percent, because many companies cannot support a full-time patent counsel, the costs of patent applications have been driven down to a commodity level, and technology development changes relatively rapidly.