The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) doesn’t hand out patents like candy. Under federal law, the only things that can be patented are “new and useful” processes, machines, manufactures, compositions of matter, or improvements. But the criteria doesn’t end at the “new and useful” stage. The government also says that a patented item can’t be “obvious.”

In other words, getting a patent is a big deal. And last week, the USPTO awarded Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, a patent on its attorney-rating system.

Super Lawyers is a research-driven, peer influenced
rating service of lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition
and professional achievement. The multiphase selection process involves creation
of the candidate pool, evaluation of candidates by the research department, and
peer evaluation by practice area. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators
of peer recognition and professional achievement. Candidates cannot nominate
themselves, and they can’t buy their way onto the Super Lawyers list.

Selections are made annually on a state-by-state basis.
The goal is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of
outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and
consumers looking for legal counsel.

Julie Gleason, Super Lawyers Director of Research, said,
“We are honored to have a recently granted U.S. patent relating to
lawyer-ratings. We take our credibility very seriously, and having a patent
assures our customers that we strive to be innovation leaders in our area.”

Sure, there are plenty of ratings systems out there,
but Super Lawyers is one of the few services of its kind to receive patent
protection. While other companies may rate lawyers, no one else does it
quite like Super Lawyers.

– Mary Williams, Director, Marketing and Product, Super Lawyers
with Robyn Hagan Cain, FindLaw Audience Team

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