School of Law
Technology & Policy Research Initiative
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Boston, MA 02215
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|October 2017||Patent Examiner Specialization|
with Timothy Simcoe: w23913
We study the matching of patent applications to examiners at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Using test statistics originally developed to identify industry agglomeration, we find strong evidence that examiners specialize in particular technologies, even within relatively homogeneous art units. Examiner specialization is more pronounced in the biotechnology and chemistry fields, and less in computers and software. Evidence of specialization becomes weaker, but does not completely disappear, if we condition on technology sub-classes. There is no evidence that certain examiners specialize in applications that have greater importance or broader claims. More specialized examiners have a lower grant rate and produce a larger narrowing of claim-scope during the examination process. We disc...
|July 2017||Disclosure Rules and Declared Essential Patents|
with Rudi Bekkers, Christian Catalini, Arianna Martinelli, Timothy Simcoe: w23627
Many standard setting organizations (SSOs) require participants to disclose patents that might be infringed by implementing a proposed standard, and commit to license their “essential” patents on terms that are at least fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND). Data from these SSO intellectual property disclosures have been used in academic studies to provide a window into the standard setting process, and in legal proceedings to assess parties’ relative contributions to a standard. We develop a simple model of the disclosure process to illustrate the link between SSO rules and patent-holder incentives, and examine some of the model’s predictions using a novel dataset constructed from the disclosure archives of thirteen major SSOs. The central message of the paper is that subtle dif...