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Are Patent Fees Effective at Weeding out Low-quality Patents?

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  • Gaétan de Rassenfosse
  • Adam B. Jaffe

Abstract

The paper investigates whether patent fees are an effective mechanism to deter the filing of low-quality patent applications. The study analyzes the effect on patent quality of the Patent Law Amendment Act of 1982, which resulted in a substantial increase in patenting fees at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Results from a series of difference-in-differences regressions suggest that the increase in fees led to a weeding out of low-quality patents. About 14 per cent of patents in the lowest quality decile were filtered out, and the effect was especially visible for companies with a large patent portfolio. The study has strong policy implications in the current context of concerns about declines in patent quality.

Suggested Citation

  • Gaétan de Rassenfosse & Adam B. Jaffe, 2014. "Are Patent Fees Effective at Weeding out Low-quality Patents?," NBER Working Papers 20785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20785
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • K2 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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