Are All Patent Examiners Equal? The Impact of Examiner Characteristics
AbstractBuilding on insights gained from interviewing administrators and patent examiners at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), we collect and analyze a novel dataset on patent examiners and patent outcomes. This dataset is based on 182 patents for which the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled on validity between 1997 and 2000. For each patent, we identify a USPTO primary examiner, and collect historical statistics derived from their entire patent examination history. These data are used to explore a number of hypotheses about the connection between the patent examination process and the strength of ensuing patent rights. Our main findings are as follows. (i) Patent examiners and the patent examination process are not homogeneous. There is substantial variation in observable characteristics of patent examiners, such as their tenure at the USPTO, the number of patents they have examined and the degree to which the patents that they examine are later cited by other patents. (ii) There is no evidence that examiner experience or workload at the time a patent is issued affects the probability that the CAFC finds a patent invalid. (iii) Examiners whose patents tend to be more frequently cited tend to have a higher probability of a CAFC invalidity ruling. The results suggest that all patent examiners are not equal, and that one of the roles of the CAFC is to review the exercise of discretion in the patent examination process.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8980.
Date of creation: Jun 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Cohen, Wesley and Steven Merrill (eds.) Patents in the Knowledge-Based Economy. National Academies Press, 2003.
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- O3 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights
- K3 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bronwyn H. Hall & Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 2001.
"The NBER Patent Citation Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools,"
NBER Working Papers
8498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hall, Bronwyn H & Jaffe, Adam B & Trajtenberg, Manuel, 2001. "The NBER Patent Citations Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 3094, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Hall, B. & Jaffe, A. & Trajtenberg, M., 2001. "The NBER Patent Citations Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," Papers, Tel Aviv 2001-29, Tel Aviv.
- Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Griliches, Zvi, 1990.
"Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
- Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Zvi Griliches, 1990. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 3301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Josh Lerner, 2005.
"150 Years of Patent Office Practice,"
American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press,
Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 112-143.
- repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
- Jean O. Lanjouw & Josh Lerner, 1997. "The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: A Survey of the Empirical Literature," NBER Working Papers 6296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Wesley M Cohen & Richard R Nelson & John P Walsh, 2003.
"Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (Or Not),"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
618897000000000624, David K. Levine.
- Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.