As we continue to investigate major rivalries in the patent law world, we now turn our attention away from market-based competition and onto academic competition. This is a type of rivalry that, while generally good-natured, can get quite heated as various schools battle it out in academic rankings, job placement statistics, and on the field. When it comes to academic rivalries in the sector, there is perhaps none more fierce than the one between the two preeminent schools of technology in the United States--MIT and Caltech. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was founded in Cambridge in 1861 to educate students in applied science and engineering in the rapidly-industrializing United States. Widely considered to be among the top technology schools in the world, MIT ranks #7 overall among national universities in the United States according to U.S. News, and #1 for several of its undergraduate and graduate programs, including engineering, chemistry, and mathematics. The school has produced 85 Nobel laureates, 45 Rhodes Scholars, and 34 astronauts.
The California Institute of Technology (Caltech), was founded in 1891 in Pasadena as a preparatory school, but quickly attracted notable scientists and dropped its preparatory program. Like MIT, Caltech is also known for its strength in science and engineering. U.S. News ranks Caltech #10 overall among national universities in the United States, with its undergraduate engineering program ranking 4th, and its space science program ranking first globally. The school has produced 34 Nobel laureates, 71 National Medal of Science recipients, and 6 Rhodes scholars.
While they are not busy studying, MIT and Caltech students have a long history of pranking each other, often with the implicit approval of school administrators, including sabotaging admissions events, removing landmarks from campus, and printing hoax school newspapers. When it comes to skill in patent prosecution, however, the rivalry can be settled using data. Using Juristat’s Marketing Reports and data provided by the USPTO, we measured the effectiveness of each school's patent prosecution efforts through five key metrics: allowance rate, average number of office actions, average speed to disposition, and average number of independent and dependent claims lost. Below are some illustrations that demonstrate our findings (hover for details).