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

22 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2017

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: August 1, 2017

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, with the effect concentrated in the patents of firms whose overall patent portfolio was medium to large (more than 20 patents). The study has strong policy implications in the current context of concerns about declines in patent quality.

Keywords: intellectual property policy, patent fees, patent quality, patent reform, screening

JEL Classification: K2, O31, O34, O38

Suggested Citation

de Rassenfosse, Gaétan and Jaffe, Adam B., Are Patent Fees Effective at Weeding Out Low-Quality Patents? (August 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3012770 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3012770

Gaétan De Rassenfosse (Contact Author)

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne ( email )

Station 5
Odyssea 1.04
1015 Lausanne, CH-1015
Switzerland

Adam B. Jaffe

Brandeis University ( email )

Waltham, MA 02454-9110
United States
781-736-2251 (Phone)
781-736-2263 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.brandeis.edu/global/people/faculty/jaff

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research ( email )

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New Zealand

HOME PAGE: http://motu.org.nz

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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