Firms with the Most Patent Attorneys and Agents

The following list ranks the top 25 firms with the most registered  patent law professionals.  All of these firms have 100+ patent attorneys/agents.  I also include a note following the firm with some information about how the numbers have changed since 2010.

  1. Fish & Richardson (Steady)
  2. Finnegan Henderson (Down 50+, Spin-off firms, including Bookoff McAndrews & McNeill Baur)
  3. Wilson Sonsini (More than doubled, mostly new attorneys/agents)
  4. Knobbe Martens (Steady)
  5. Kilpatrick Townsend (Big growth from merger of firms)
  6. Foley & Lardner (Steady)
  7. Baker Botts (Steady)
  8. IBM (Steady)
  9. Perkins Coie (More than doubled)
  10. Morrison & Foerster (Steady)
  11. Cooley (More than doubled, mostly new attorneys/agents)
  12. Sterne Kessler (Some growth)
  13. Morgan Lewis (Some growth)
  14. Jones Day (Some decline)
  15. Schwegman Lundberg (Doubled)
  16. Wolf Greenfield (Doubled)
  17. Banner & Witcoff (Some growth)
  18. Polsinelli PC (Huge growth, including folks from Novak Druce;  Dorsey; etc. and also new attorneys)
  19. Johnson & Johnson (company)
  20. Alston & Bird (Steady)
  21. Kirkland & Ellis (Steady)
  22. Haynes and Boone (Growth – mostly new attorneys)
  23. Mintz Levin (Doubled – mostly new attorneys)
  24. Qualcomm (Some growth)
  25. Harness IP (Some decline)

Firms with the biggest losses of folks since 2010 include Kenyon & Kenyon (firm closed — 150 people); Brinks (down to 86 from 160, folks left to go to lots of different places); Woodcock (most joined BakerHostetler); Blakely Sokoloff (firm closed an many joined Womble Bond but also spin-off firms of Jaffery Watson; Nicholson De Vos); Connolly Bove (firm closed); Fitzpatrick Cella (Firm closed with many joining Venable); Ropes & Gray (lots of folks left to other firms, including spin-off Haley Guiliano); Novak Druce (lots of poaching, including by Polsinelli; Duane Morris, etc.).

The list has a some big caveats.  (1) The data comes from the USPTO register, and some attorneys are not good at updating their information. For example. Kenyon & Kenyon closed its doors in 2016, but 30+ registrations still list the firm.  (2) A number of folks use their home (or some other) address rather than firm address for the registration. (3) Retired folks often do not update their registration.

17 thoughts on “Firms with the Most Patent Attorneys and Agents

  1. 5

    Would any reader care to comment on the phenomeon that even while many of the largest patent law firms are “steady” a surprising number have “doubled”, while other famous name firms have “closed”. Is there more volatility in the fortunes of firms than there used to be and, if so, why is that. Perhaps it is like that old saying about marriages though? How does it go? Was it: All successful marriages are successful in the same way, while every unsuccessful one fails in a different way?

    Or is it that management of a giant law firm gets ever more difficult, rising proportionately with the number of cats to be herded? Does stress in the IT area play a role, perhaps? I ask that because, over here in Europe right now, the crisis of the moment is how to get a functioning “case management system” for the new European court up and running. The difficulties seem to be overwhelming.

    1. 5.1

      Well, I’ve been at a couple of these firms on the list.

      A lot of the volatility is because prosecution is just generally not profitable for the large general firms. Some of the smaller firms just specialize in prosecution and can make a living doing so.

      You have to realize that many patent applications have gone from $15K or more to $7K or less in the last 20 years. So, giant, giant, reduction in price companies are willing to pay for the same work. Often an Office Action has gone from $3,500 + interview to $2,200 + interview. Some companies use India to do the work.

      What you see is that the firms that kept prosecution do so for the other type of work related to prosecution and the specialized firms becoming very efficient at doing proseuction.

      Anway, all the change is from all the change in now prosecution is done.

      1. 5.1.1

        That’s most informative, Night. Thank you.

        Let’s consider the three categories of work I see in Europe, namely, ex parte prosecution, inter partes opposition work at the EPO, and patent dispute litigation in the courts. All three are profitable, despite the global titan clients increasingly imposing flat rate prosecution fee structures. I suppose one difference is that in Europe the profession of “patent attorney” and “attorney at law” are separate but of comparable professional standing. Europe’s “big general” law firms have never found it profitable to do prosecution. The patent attorney firms, regardless of size, are not set up to specialise in patent litigation. Everybody wants a slice of the opposition cake and clients have very individual opinions about what type of firm to use for EPO oposition work.

        I wonder, which of the Top 25 US firms is most successfully building a reputation for sucess in inter partes proceedings at the USPTO.


          There is a serious (and obvious) flaw in your attempt to wear your EPO spectacles in viewing US practice:

          The (relatively new) post grant theatre (your analog to opposition) is a joke — legally — start to finish.

          The truism of “you get what you pay for” remains — even through commodization.

          Some clients are perfectly happy with cut-rate prosecution and aim for a “war chest,” in which value is “by the [weighted] pound.” Others are perfectly happy with fully vetted “litigation-robust” prosecution (which tends more to pre-empt even the thought of an opponent fighting the assertion of the patent).

          It is through this lens that the Efficient Infringer plague is best viewed. When the landscape is made such that a Rational Actor prefers infringement and only after suit would (maybe) pay what is asked, it becomes “natural” to denigrate (rather than promote) the innovation of others.


          As to “Which of top 25,” are you not aware of the industry gulf between general practice and boutique?


            F&R, you say. Very visible, these days in opposition cases at the EPO. Coincidence? I think not.


          Let’s consider the three categories of work I see in Europe, namely, ex parte prosecution, inter partes opposition work at the EPO, and patent dispute litigation in the courts. All three are profitable,…

          The total size of the market economy covered by the USPTO is approximately equal to the total size of the market economy covered by the EPO. However, the EPO lists 13,852 active practitioners on its rolls, while (as Prof. Crouch notes in the next post) the USPTO lists 48,625. Both numbers are likely inaccurate, but I see no reason to suppose that they are disproportionately inaccurate.

          Prices are a function of supply and demand. There are, in other words, more than 3 times as many professionals chasing the same pot of economic value in the U.S. as in Europe. Perhaps, then, it is not surprising if the financials on this side of the Atlantic are more squeezed than on your side.


            Greg, you are in house whereas I have no experience of being in house. So you are better placed than me, to tell us whether competent firms in the USA are more squeezable than those in Europe.

            I am in a large and long-established firm. My sense is that there is no shortage of ambitious young upstart firms headed by very competent European patent attorneys, who will squeeze us out on price given the chance. But I suppose that the squeeze-out is primarily in the sector of original drafting of first filings. This is an area in which (I would say) clients world-wide are very slow to realise that it is a false economy to get it done on the cheap, especially in a First to File jurisdiction.

  2. 4

    Just curious, do you download the roster from the USPTO on a regular basis so you have the data in case you ever want to do stuff like this? That is thinking ahead. 🙂

    1. 2.1

      How can you register a copyright on something that you did not create (i.e. the bones)?

      Unless you are G-d.

      1. 2.1.1


        Read closer — it was the (man-made) “make-up” bones — the ones NOT found in nature, and needed to complement those found in nature for a “full effect” that are at issue.

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