In the NY Times (July 31, 2005 at BU 3) the general counsel of Microsoft, Brad Smith, explained why the company had increased its annual target for patent applications from 2,000 to 3,000.
Benchmark studies had shown the software giant, he explained, that other information technology companies filed about two patents for every $1 million they spent on research and development. Since Microsoft spends $6-7.5 billion annually on R&D, to match its peers’ benchmark metrics, it would need to increase its filings by 50 percent.
Here is a clear instance of the value of benchmarks: a law department decisively acts on what it concluded from comparative figures. [See also my post on April 1, 2005 on matter management systems and IP databases.]