By Dennis Crouch
One of my patent law students (Marriam Lin) is working on a project that divides patent applications into two sets: (1) Those that are patented and (2) those that are abandoned without being patented. We're looking to see whether we can identify objective factors found in the original application filing (or at least by the time of publication) correlate with the application being patented or not. This project falls in line with the papers on Valuable Patents and Worthless Patents, but focuses only on pre-issuance issues. We have a few simple measures such as the assignee, type of technology, number of inventors, size of application and claim set, and priority claims. Obviously, our result will have only a limited value since many important factors will elude our measurement. However, I have been surprised at the explanatory power of the model even in our limited approach. If you picked up a patent application, what factors would you think might help predict whether that application will eventually issue as a patent? Is there a way to objectively measure those factors?