Silico Research’s analysis of over 40,000 patents and applications filed at the USPTO in the life sciences and selected IT areas between 1995-2007 has shown that the California-based firm Townsend and Townsend and Crew LLP was the leading patent firm when measured by the number of patents and applications filed.
Having filed Cohen and Boyer’s patent for recombinant DNA, the patent that helped found the biotechnology industry in the 1970s, Townsend and Townsend has built up a strong presence in the life sciences sector and electronics and software. Townsend and Townsend and Crew’s largest clients include the University of California, the Californian Institute of Technology, Neuralab Ltd, Yahoo Inc, Rigel Pharmaceuticals Inc and Metabolex Inc.
Other firms in the top ten firms, in order from the largest number of patents and applications filed, were Morrison and Foerster LLP, Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett and Dunner LLP, Birch Stewart Kolasch and Birch, Knobbe Martens Olson and Bear LLP, Oblon Spivak McClelland Maier and Newstadt PC, Nixon and Vanderhye PC, Hamilton Brook Smith and Reynolds PC, Sughrue Mion LLC and Jones Day LLC. With the exception of Morrison and Foerster and Jones Day all the firms are intellectual property boutique firms.
Most of the top ten firms have a predominantly American client base. Exceptions were Oblon Spivak McClelland Maier and Newstadt and Nixon and Vanderhye. Oblon Spivak filed a large number of patents for foriegn clients including Ajinomoto Co Inc (Japan), the Institute Pasteur (France), L’Oreal (France), and Kao Corporation (Japan). Nixon and Vanderhye also has a strong presence in the Japanese sector filing a number of patents for clients including Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co Ltd.
The analysis showed that a number of companies eschew outside counsel and rely on in-house lawyers to file patents and applications. Companies relying on in-house lawyers include the biotechnology companies Human Genome Sciences Inc and Genentech Inc and the pharmaceutical companies Johnson and Johnson Inc, Bristol-Myers Squibb Inc, Novartis and Merck and Co Inc.