Swinburne University of Technology
Mail H25, PO Box 218 Hawthorn
VIC 3122, Australia
Information about this author at RePEc
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|May 2016||Low-quality Patents in the Eye of the Beholder: Evidence from Multiple Examiners|
with Gaétan de Rassenfosse, Adam B. Jaffe: w22244
Low-quality patents are of considerable concern to businesses operating in patent-dense markets. There are two pathways by which low-quality patents may be issued: the patent office may apply systematically a standard that is too lenient (low inventive step threshold); or the patent office may grant patents that are, in fact, below its own threshold (so-called ‘weak’ patents). This paper uses novel data from inventions that have been examined at the five largest patent offices and an explicit model of the grant process to derive first-of-their-kind office-specific estimates of the height of the inventive step threshold and the prevalence of weak patents. The empirical analysis is based on patent applications granted at one office but refused at another office. We estimate that the fraction...