The Effective Exclusion of Computer Scientists under Qualifications Required by the USPTO to Practice Patent Law : Data Analysis

History of this Project

A Statistical Analysis of the Patent Bar: Where are the Software-Savvy Patent Attorneys?

This paper was viewed on the Social Science Research Network by approaching 3,000 researchers and has been a top ten download on the Legal Scholarship Network for four days with over one thousands downloads.

The authors are:

Ralph Clifford Ralph D. Clifford,
University of Massachusetts
School of Law at Dartmouth

Thomas G. Field Jr.  Thomas G. Field Jr.,
Franklin Pierce Law Center
UNH School of Law

Jon R. Cavicchi    Jon R. Cavicchi,
Franklin Pierce Law Center
UNH School of Law


Published in the North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology, Vol. 11, p. 223, 2010


Among the many factors that impact the declining quality of U.S. patents is the increasing disconnect between the technological education patent bar members have and the fields in which patents are being written. Based on an empirical study, the authors show that too few patent attorneys and agents have relevant experience in the most often patented areas today, such as computer science. An examination of the qualification practices of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") suggests that an institutional bias exists within the PTO that prevents software-savvy individuals from registering with the Office. The paper concludes with suggestions of how the identified problems can be corrected.

Graphical Analytics Pages
1983 -2005

Note: the data covers he years 1983, 1990 - 2005. Data entry prior to 1983 and 1984-1989 was missing application dates and therefore was not graphed.

Raw Data Used for this Site and Upcoming Article in University of North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology

Microsoft Access Database to Facilitate Use of Data

General Questions about this project should be directed to Professor Cavicchi at

Questions about the data compilation and presentation methodology, please email

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