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Decoding Patent Examination Services


  • Lluís Gimeno Fabra
  • Bruno Van Pottelsberghe


This paper puts forward a new methodology to characterize and compare the examination practice of most patent offices. The methodology codifies public information into a typology of chronological key examiner actions. This approach translates into a quantitative characterization of search completeness (i.e. classification and citation practices), certainty, speed, and stringency, or grant rate. The methodology is tested on a sample of 100 random families of a non-controversial field, comprising EPO, JPO and USPTO members. The results show profound differences across offices in respect to search completeness, certainty, and speed and indicate heterogeneous levels of stringency.

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  • Lluís Gimeno Fabra & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, 2017. "Decoding Patent Examination Services," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2017-31, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/257046

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