A few years ago, during the height of the green patent
fast track craze, I wrote a post on clean tech companies generating PR about
their patent applications being accepted into an accelerated examination
program or being granted by such a program.
Though the excitement has died down and the USPTO
green tech fast track was closed last year, green patent PR remains
alive and well.
In the past few weeks Biofuels Digest
picked up two such stories. The first was about a Notice of Allowance received
by a Canadian company called CO2 Solutions for a patent application entitled "Methods and formulations
using carbonic anhydrase and reaction compound combinations."
The second piece reported the issuance of U.S.
Patent No. 8,420,782, entitled "Molecular DNA-binding domains and
methods of use" and related to gene editing based on the use of TAL
effectors. The patentee is Illinois-based Two Blades Foundation.
The patent PR in the clean tech industry sparked my
interest in the broader phenomenon of PR materials concerning patent
matters. I was curious to find out to what extent this was occurring in
other industries, and exactly what types of subject matter are involved
when patentees generate media content about their patents.
So a few months ago, I started researching the subject
matter technology firms are communicating when they generate PR content
concerning patents (see the Abstract here).
I compiled and analyzed a random set of 414 patent-focused press releases
generated by patentees, or their licensees, from 2008 to March 2013 and
catalogued the subject matter contained therein.
The data set enabled me to create a taxonomy of
patent-focused PR content. As it turns out, the subject matter of patent
PR can be broken down into the following top-level categories: (1)
prosecution; (2) litigation; (3) transactional matters; (4) post-grant
procedures; (5) patent-related honors/accolades; (6) patented or patent pending
products; and (7) ANDA patent challenges.
Most of the top-level categories can be further divided
into second-level subject matter categories. In the patent prosecution
category, for example, the study calculates the proportion of press releases
involving (a) patents granted; (b) Notices of Allowance issued; (c);
applications filed; (d) applications pending; and (e) responses to office
So the CO2 Solutions story would be categorized as
Prosecution; Notice of Allowance issued. The Two Blades Foundation
article would be Prosecution; Patent granted.
Within the patent litigation category I found that the
largest proportion of press releases relates to settlement of litigation,
perhaps reflecting the reality that most patent cases settle but also suggesting
that firms may believe it more beneficial to report early resolution of patent
litigation than enforcement activity or court victories.
As to industry statistics, my preliminary results
indicate that pharmaceutical firms generate the largest proportion of press
releases, a finding consistent with the importance of patents to the
pharmaceutical industry. The clean tech industry is in fifth place with
9.2% of press releases in the data set.
I'm hoping that the data I present in this
study will help to elucidate which patent-related events technology firms
believe are important to highlight and provide a foundation for subsequent
inquiries into how patent PR may affect public opinion of patents and
View more from the Green Patent Blog.
For more information about LexisNexis
products and solutions connect with us through our corporate site.