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Examiner Characteristics and Patent Office Outcomes


Mark A. Lemley


Stanford Law School

Bhaven N. Sampat


Columbia University - Mailman School of Public Health

January 1, 2009

Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 369

Abstract:     
In this paper, we show that there are important differences across patent examiners at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and that these relate to the most important decision made by the USPTO: whether or not to grant a patent. We find that more experienced examiners, and those who systematically cite less prior art, are more likely to grant patent applications. These results are not encouraging as a matter of public policy. But they do point to human resource policies as potentially important levers in patent system reform.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 11

JEL Classification: O34, O38

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Date posted: January 19, 2009 ; Last revised: August 20, 2012

Suggested Citation

Lemley, Mark A. and Sampat, Bhaven N., Examiner Characteristics and Patent Office Outcomes (January 1, 2009). Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 369. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1329091 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1329091

Contact Information

Mark A. Lemley (Contact Author)
Stanford Law School ( email )
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
Bhaven N. Sampat
Columbia University - Mailman School of Public Health ( email )
600 West 168th St. 6th Floor
New York, NY 10032
United States
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