The Economics of Patent Backlog
37 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2015 Last revised: 12 Jul 2016
Date Written: July 10, 2016
Patent offices around the world face massive backlogs of applications, which threatens to slow down the pace of technological progress. However, economists lack analytical tools to tackle the issue. This paper provides a model of patent backlogs inspired by the literature on traffic congestion. Inventors are heterogeneous with respect to their desired duration of patent pendency. They can accelerate or slow down the duration of pendency by adapting their filing strategy. We use our model to discuss three policy responses: increasing examination capacity; introducing penalty fees; and altering the value of pending applications.
Keywords: congestion model, patent backlog, pendency, strategic filing
JEL Classification: O34, R48
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation