NBER Working Papers and Publications
|May 2012||Fixing the Patent Office|
in Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 13, Josh Lerner and Scott Stern, editors
|Fixing the Patent Office|
How can we allow patent examiners to effectively distinguish between patentable and unpatentable inventions, without slowing the process to a crawl or wasting a bunch of money? This essay reviews the recent literature and considers a number of proposals and their limitations. It concludes that the system can be improved, but that we are unlikely to solve the problem of bad patents altogether. The focus in reform discussions should be on understanding and changing applicant and examiner incentives rather than simply spending money.