Getting Patents: Is Agent Quality More Important Than Invention Quality?

28 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2018 Last revised: 9 Aug 2019

See all articles by Gaétan de Rassenfosse

Gaétan de Rassenfosse

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Paul H. Jensen

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

T'Mir Julius

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

Alfons Palangkaraya

Swinburne University of Technology

Elizabeth Webster

Swinburne University of Technology; University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

Date Written: August 2019

Abstract

For a patent system to be socially efficient, it should only grant patents to inventions that are non-obvious. We analyse patent examination decisions at the U.S. Patent Office (with comparisons to four other major patent offices) and find evidence that agent quality is a more important determinant of patent grant than the quality of the invention. Agent quality is particularly important in less codified and more rapidly changing technology areas such as software and ICT. Moreover, agent quality is more important when invention quality is low. The surprisingly large importance of agent quality suggests that the patent system may help maintain the uneven playing field rather than levelling it.

Keywords: appropriation, innovation, patent law firm, patent system

Suggested Citation

de Rassenfosse, Gaétan and Jensen, Paul H. and Julius, T'Mir and Palangkaraya, Alfons and Webster, Elizabeth M., Getting Patents: Is Agent Quality More Important Than Invention Quality? (August 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3254958 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3254958

Gaétan De Rassenfosse (Contact Author)

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne ( email )

Station 5
Odyssea 1.04
1015 Lausanne, CH-1015
Switzerland

Paul H. Jensen

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

T'Mir Julius

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Alfons Palangkaraya

Swinburne University of Technology ( email )

Cnr Wakefield and William Streets, Hawthorn Victor
3122 Victoria, Victoria 3122
Australia

Elizabeth M. Webster

Swinburne University of Technology ( email )

Cnr Wakefield and William Streets, Hawthorn Victor
3122 Victoria, Victoria 3122
Australia

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

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