Are Patent Fees Effective at Weeding Out Low-Quality Patents?

26 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2014 Last revised: 17 Oct 2022

See all articles by Gaétan de Rassenfosse

Gaétan de Rassenfosse

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Adam B. Jaffe

Brandeis University; Motu Economic and Public Policy Research; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2014

Abstract

The paper investigates whether patent fees are an effective mechanism to deter the filing of low-quality patent applications. The study analyzes the effect on patent quality of the Patent Law Amendment Act of 1982, which resulted in a substantial increase in patenting fees at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Results from a series of difference-in-differences regressions suggest that the increase in fees led to a weeding out of low-quality patents. About 14 per cent of patents in the lowest quality decile were filtered out, and the effect was especially visible for companies with a large patent portfolio. The study has strong policy implications in the current context of concerns about declines in patent quality.

Suggested Citation

de Rassenfosse, Gaétan and Jaffe, Adam B., Are Patent Fees Effective at Weeding Out Low-Quality Patents? (December 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20785, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2543637

Gaétan De Rassenfosse (Contact Author)

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne ( email )

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Adam B. Jaffe

Brandeis University ( email )

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