IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cdl/oplwec/qt1tc166q2.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Rational Ignorance at the Patent Office

Author

Listed:
  • Lemley, Mark

Abstract

It is common to assert that the Patent and Trademark Office does a bad job of examining patents, and that it should spend more time and money weeding out bad patents. In this article, Professor Lemley challenges that conventional wisdom. Using available data regarding the cost and incidence of patent prosecution, litigation, licensing and other uses of patents, he demonstrates that strengthening the examination process is not cost effective. The core insight is that very few patents are actually litigated or licensed; most simply sit on a shelf unused, or are used only for noncontroversial purposes like financing. Because of this, society would be better off spending its resources in a more searching judicial inquiry into validity in those few cases in which it matters than paying for a more protracted examination of all patents ex ante. In economic terms, the patent office is "rationally ignorant" of the objective validity of the patents it issues.

Suggested Citation

  • Lemley, Mark, 2000. "Rational Ignorance at the Patent Office," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt1tc166q2, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:oplwec:qt1tc166q2
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/1tc166q2.pdf;origin=repeccitec
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Pierre Volle & Caroline Lancelot Miltgen, 2005. "Préoccupation des clients pour le respect de la vie privée et réponse à une sollicitation portant sur des données personnelles," Post-Print halshs-00164835, HAL.
    2. Paul H. Jensen & Elizabeth Webster, 2004. "Factors Affecting the Power of Patent Rights," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2004n31, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    3. Hoenen, Sebastian & Kolympiris, Christos & Schoenmakers, Wilfred & Kalaitzandonakes, Nicholas, 2014. "The diminishing signaling value of patents between early rounds of venture capital financing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(6), pages 956-989.
    4. Gaetan de Rassenfosse & Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2013. "The Role Of Fees In Patent Systems: Theory And Evidence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 696-716, September.
    5. Burke, Paul F. & Reitzig, Markus, 2007. "Measuring patent assessment quality--Analyzing the degree and kind of (in)consistency in patent offices' decision making," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1404-1430, November.
    6. Reitzig, Markus & Henkel, Joachim & Heath, Christopher, 2007. "On sharks, trolls, and their patent prey--Unrealistic damage awards and firms' strategies of "being infringed"," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 134-154, February.
    7. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:5:p:1005-1019 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:oplwec:qt1tc166q2. See general 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: (Lisa Schiff). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/lebrkus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.