Screening for Patent Quality: Examination, Fees, and the Courts
CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2016-046
66 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2016 Last revised: 10 Mar 2017
Date Written: November 1, 2016
To study how governments can improve the quality of patent screening, we develop an integrative framework incorporating four main policy instruments: patent office examination, pre- and post-grant fees, and challenges in the courts. We show that examination and pre-grant fees are complementary, and that pre-grant fees screen more effectively than post-grant fees. Simulations of the model, calibrated on U.S. patent and litigation data, indicate that patenting is socially excessive and the patent office does not effectively weed out low-quality applications. We quantify the welfare effects of counterfactual policy reforms and show how they depend on the quality of the courts.
Keywords: innovation, patents, screening, litigation, courts, patent fees
JEL Classification: D82, K41, L24, O31, O34, O38
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