Several years ago, the inventive legal department at Cisco developed a tool that lets engineers start to figure out whether an invention is patentable. According to Robert Haig, Ed., Successful Partnering Between Inside and Outside Counsel (Thomson Reuters/West 2009 Supp.), Vol. 1, Chapter 11 at §11:22 fn 8, the online system asks legal questions about a potentially patentable invention. If the rules-based software concludes that the patent application meets Cisco’s criteria, the application is assigned to a law firm to prosecute.
One of those firms that prosecutes patents, Baker Botts, has access to the software. An article in September 2005 cited by the chapter’s authors states that “Baker Botts then created its own extranet for managing patent investigations, which Cisco now pays Baker Botts a fixed fee to use.” Again, Cisco was innovative in terms of law department management (See my post of Sept. 25, 2008: Cisco’s Mark Chandler with 30 references.).