Comparative Patent Quality
68 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2016 Last revised: 3 May 2018
Date Written: September 1, 2016
One of the most urgent problems with the US patent system is that there are too many patents of poor quality. Most blame the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) – its mistakes, overly generous grant rate, and lack of consistency. But, the quality and quantity of patents in force is the product of three sets of decisions: to submit an application of certain quality (by the applicant), to grant the patent (by the patent office), and to renew a patent and keep it in force (by the applicant/patentee). Startling, there is no consensus way to measure patent quality. This article addresses these shortcomings by developing new, comparative ways to measure patent quality, using the benchmark of the European Patent Office (EPO), viewed as the “gold standard” for patent quality. Tracking the progress of patent submissions, grants, and renewals, including of close to 100,000 applications filed at both the EPO and USPTO, it reveals subtle and thus far overlooked differences with implications for how the US should implement and prioritize improvements to patent quality.
Keywords: Patents, patent quality
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