Dennis Crouch of the Patently-O blog did a cool little experiment. A professor of law at Boston University and a practicing patent lawyer, he’d be the first to admit this is entirely awful demographic / sociological statistical technique, but it’s still pretty good cocktail party nosh:
Name and contact-information is available for registered US patent attorneys. This weekend, I took a quick look at that database and compared it to US census data. You see lots of law firms with odd names headlining the banner, and I wanted to see whether attorneys with uncommon names were rising to the top — or, instead, if patent attorneys just have uncommon names. I also wanted to see whether the rate of various names could help us deduce anything about minority representation before the PTO.
So below is Dennis’s chart. And while they may not represent a minority group in the legal profession — at least not in my neighborhood — well, check out the chaps at the bottom of the list, 20th in PTO filings but a weensy 363rd in the census data: