Almost every US patent contains at least one mistake, according to new research. The vast majority are trivial errors, most of them the fault of the USPTO; but two per cent of the patents examined were found to contain serious mistakes that weakened the core claims.
The findings come from Intellevate, a firm that offers support services to intellectual property lawyers, such as prior art searching and patent proofreading, from facilities in Minneapolis and India.
Proofreading is an important last step in the process of obtaining a patent because it can identify errors that can affect the patent’s enforceability. Intellevate announced last Friday that its Indian office has just proofread its 5,000th issued patent.
According to Leon Steinberg, Intellevate’s CEO: "We find errors in every issued patent we review. Many of the errors are unimportant, but others, such as missing claim, can impair the enforceability of the patent. We identify the errors so that our clients can decide if they want to file a Certificate of Correction."
Intellevate reported that Certificates of Correction were filed for an estimated 34 per cent of the proofread patents.
Most law firms consider proofreading as a necessary step to reduce their malpractice exposure. Sophisticated corporations view proofreading as the final step in controlling the quality of their patents and ensuring enforceability. However, proofreading is time-consuming and can be expensive. It involves checking the issued patent, which can be hundreds of pages long, against the filed application and all amendments.
In addition to being time consuming and usually costly, it is often a lacklustre task that many law firms and legal departments would rather not have to take on. For this reason, Intellevate says proofreading is the perfect activity to perform off-shore.
"Intellevate has developed proprietary tools that automate part of the proofreading process and has built a team of legal assistants in India who are thoroughly trained and specialise in proofreading services," said Steinberg. "These capabilities, combined with the lower wage rates in India, allow Intellevate to provide clients a vastly superior work product at a fraction of the cost of proofreading on-shore."
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