Growing Pains in the Administrative State: The Patent Office's Troubled Quest for Managerial Control

29 Pages Posted: 29 May 2009

See all articles by Arti K. Rai

Arti K. Rai

Duke University School of Law; Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Date Written: May 29, 2009

Abstract

In the last ten years, the workload of the Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") has increased dramatically. Complaints about the PTO's ability to manage its workload have increased in tandem. Interestingly, although Congress has explicitly given the PTO rulemaking authority over the processing of patent applications, and withheld from it authority over "substantive" patent law, the PTO has arguably enjoyed more success in influencing substantive law than in executing direct efforts to manage its workload. This Article explores the multiple, mutually reinforcing reasons for this anomaly. It argues that although there are good reasons to be frustrated with the PTO's past performance, the anomaly should not persist. To the contrary, incremental reform that gave the new PTO administration greater control over its procedures and its budgetary outlook would move us a long way toward a more efficient system of patent examination.

Suggested Citation

Rai, Arti Kaur, Growing Pains in the Administrative State: The Patent Office's Troubled Quest for Managerial Control (May 29, 2009). University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 157, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1411662

Arti Kaur Rai (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative ( email )

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
United States

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