Improving Patent Quality with Applicant Incentives

60 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2012 Last revised: 2 Dec 2018

Date Written: August 16, 2012


This Article offers an alternative approach to the widely recognized problem of low-quality patents being granted by the patent office. Traditional reforms have focused almost exclusively on making the patent office more effective at examination. This Article instead looks at patent quality from an applicant’s perspective, and evaluates how certain patent rules might be encouraging inventors to file higher or lower quality claims. It proposes a variety of reforms to take advantage of applicants’ existing interests in obtaining patents that are both broad enough to create infringing activity and narrow enough to be valid. The result is a distinctive set of tools that could be used to improve patent quality without additional investment in examination or the involvement of third parties.

Keywords: patent reform, patent quality, patent litigation

Suggested Citation

Yelderman, Stephen, Improving Patent Quality with Applicant Incentives (August 16, 2012). 28 Harvard Journal of Law and Technology 77 (2014), Available at SSRN: or

Stephen Yelderman (Contact Author)

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
United States

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