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Big general practice firms for patent litigation, IP specialists for patent prosecution

According to IP Law & Business’ research last year, “IP specialty firms accounted for only four of the 31 firms that handled three or more IP litigation matters in the U.S. for the world’s 50 most innovative companies.” Research this year confirms the pattern: “of the 22 firms that handled three matters are more coming only three were IP specialists.” The trend is that for patent litigation law departments favor general practice firms, which might be more experienced with e-discovery, more stocked with software for discovery, and packed with more litigation depth and experience.

By contrast, IP specialists firms are preeminent in patent prosecution. The article that cites this data, IP Law & Bus., Vol. 6, Nov. 2008 at 43, attributes this dominance to the increasing technical expertise that is needed for effective patent prosecution.

Law departments recognize specialized expertise, and in the intellectual property world the two practice areas have clearly diverged by type of law firm (See my post of Nov. 30, 2005: IP litigation with what type of firm.).