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A prior art search can make or break a patent. Miss something at the prosecution stage, and a smart litigator may likely find it during litigation. To cover all the bases, lawyers use an array of tools in their research. The 38 firms that responded to the survey named 44 different tools in this category. Not surprisingly, 92 percent of the firms surveyed go straight to the source for patent and trademark information: the Patent and Trademark Office’s Web site. Tools from MicroPatent and Delphion ranked second and third, respectively. Next year the rivalry between these two companies may be over. In October, The Thomson Corp., which owns Delphion Research, announced that it is in the process of acquiring its chief competition, Information Holdings Inc.’s MicroPatent, LLC. At press time Thomson couldn’t say whether it would merge the two companies or run them as separate entities after the buyout.
What tools does the firm use fortrademark and patent prosecution? *
Rank Product # of Mentions Percentage
1 PTO Web site 35 92%
2 MicroPatent 24 63%
3 Delphion 23 61%
4 Dialog 10 26%
5 SAEGIS 7 18%
6 [email protected] 5 13%
7 IP Online 4 11%
8 Global IP Estimator 3 8%
8 LexisNexis 3 8%
8 STN 3 8%
*Tools that were mentioned by three or morefirms
What patent annuity service doesthe firm use?
Rank Vendor Firms Percentage
1 CPI 16 46%
2 CPA * 14 40%
3 MDC 8 23%
4 Dennemeyer 3 9%
*CPA was not listed as a choice in our survey,respondents had to check off “other,” and add the vendor by hand.
What docketing software does thefirm use?
Rank Vendor Firms Percentage
1 CPI 12 32%
2 MDC 9 24%
3 CPA 5 13%
3 Dennemeyer 5 13%
5 PATTSY 4 11%
6 foundationIP 1 3%
6 IPss 1 3%
( IP Law & Business, November2004)

Tamara Loomis is a freelance journalist and frequent ALM contributor.

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