A missing benchmark: R&D inventors per in-house patent lawyer or staff member

Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs employs 1,000 researchers and has produced a portfolio of 27,600 active patents; it added 2,100 as registered in 2009. These figures come from 2010 Intelligence Report & Directory Series of Leaders League at 82, which gave me the opportunity to speculate on a benchmark: in-house patent lawyers per researcher.

The profile says that around the world Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs has “150 people working on industrial property.” It is unclear whether that means people in the legal department, lawyers only, total people in licensing, or what. Not having come across such an arcane ratio, I can proposes one: IP lawyers per 1,000 R&D staff or total members of the legal department who work in the IP area per 1,000 R&D staff (See my post of Oct. 10, 2008: IP lawyers should sometimes sit with inventors.). It stands to reason that this ratio tells something useful about legal support for the inventive side of a company.

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