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Examiner Characteristics and Patent Office Outcomes

Author

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  • Mark A. Lemley

    (Stanford Law School and Durie Tangri LLP)

  • Bhaven Sampat

    (Columbia University)

Abstract

In this paper, we show that there are important differences across patent examiners at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. We show that more experienced examiners cite less prior art, are more likely to grant patents, and are more likely to grant patents without any rejections. These results suggest that the most important decisions made by the patent office are significantly affected by the happenstance of which examiner gets an application. They also point to human resource policies as potentially important levers, hitherto neglected, in patent system reform. © 2012 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark A. Lemley & Bhaven Sampat, 2012. "Examiner Characteristics and Patent Office Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 817-827, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:94:y:2012:i:3:p:817-827
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    Keywords

    patent examiners; patent offices;

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