While economic factors are the oft cited reason for reduced patent filings, patent owners may be considering other, more important factors, in reevaluating their use of patents as the primary (or sole) means of protecting innovation. In recent discussions with Chief Patent Counsel, we see companies more actively reviewing and redefining their IP strategies because of shifts in the overall business and legal environment for patents, not merely because of budget pressures. If patent filing rates continue their decrease even after economic and budget recovery, record patent filing rates may prove to have been a bubble. While instigated by budget pressure, ultimately patent owners are shifting from volume-based strategies, to focus on quality and better business value.

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