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Does the outsourcing of prior art search increase the efficiency of patent examination?

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  • Yamauchi, Isamu
  • Nagaoka, Sadao

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of outsourcing of prior art search on the efficiency of patent examination, using a large scale Japanese patent examination data. Outsourcing may increase examination quality by expanding the scope of prior art search, while it may have a negative effect if the synergy between search and examination is important. If examination quality is the predominant concern for outsourcing decision and the outsourcing is constrained by budgetary resources, we expect that outsourcing enhances examination quality at its margin. On the other hand, if an examiner can save private cost by outsourcing, an increase in outsourcing can decrease the quality. Controlling for the endogeneity of outsourcing decision as well as examiners’ fixed effects, we found that the outsourcing of prior art search significantly decreased the frequency of appeals against both examiners’ rejection and grant decisions and reduced the length of examination duration. At the same time we found that the prior art search of complex inventions is not outsourced. These suggest that the opportunity for exploiting external knowledge and capability can increase the quality as well as the speed of examination.

Suggested Citation

  • Yamauchi, Isamu & Nagaoka, Sadao, 2013. "Does the outsourcing of prior art search increase the efficiency of patent examination?," IIR Working Paper 13-12, Institute of Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hit:iirwps:13-12
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    File URL: http://hermes-ir.lib.hit-u.ac.jp/rs/bitstream/10086/25671/1/070iirWP13-12.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Caillaud, Bernard & Duchêne, Anne, 2011. "Patent office in innovation policy: Nobody's perfect," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 242-252, March.
    2. Bhaven N. Sampat, 2010. "When Do Applicants Search for Prior Art?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(2), pages 399-416, May.
    3. Palangkaraya, Alfons & Jensen, Paul H. & Webster, Elizabeth, 2008. "Applicant behaviour in patent examination request lags," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 243-245, December.
    4. Liegsalz, Johannes & Wagner, Stefan, 2013. "Patent examination at the State Intellectual Property Office in China," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 552-563.
    5. Goto, Akira & Motohashi, Kazuyuki, 2007. "Construction of a Japanese Patent Database and a first look at Japanese patenting activities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1431-1442, November.
    6. Iain M. Cockburn & Samuel Kortum & Scott Stern, 2002. "Are All Patent Examiners Equal? The Impact of Examiner Characteristics," NBER Working Papers 8980, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. David Popp & Ted Juhl & Daniel K.N. Johnson, 2003. "Time in Purgatory: Determinants of the Grant Lag for U.S. Patent Applications," NBER Working Papers 9518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Batabyal, Amitrajeet A. & Nijkamp, Peter, 2008. "Is there a tradeoff between average patent pendency and examination errors?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 150-158.
    9. Dietmar Harhoff & Stefan Wagner, 2009. "The Duration of Patent Examination at the European Patent Office," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(12), pages 1969-1984, December.
    10. Pierre Régibeau & Katharine Rockett, 2010. "INNOVATION CYCLES AND LEARNING AT THE PATENT OFFICE: DOES THE EARLY PATENT GET THE DELAY? -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 222-246, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yamauchi, Isamu & Nagaoka, Sadao, 2015. "An economic analysis of deferred examination system: Evidence from a policy reform in Japan," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 19-28.
    2. Yamauchi, Isamu & Nagaoka, Sadao, 2014. "An Economic Analysis of Deferred Examination System: Evidence from Policy Reforms in Japan," IIR Working Paper 14-05, Institute of Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    patent; examination; outsourcing; search; prior art;

    JEL classification:

    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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