Patent Inconsistency

75 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2021 Last revised: 2 Feb 2022

See all articles by Saurabh Vishnubhakat

Saurabh Vishnubhakat

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law; Duke University School of Law

Date Written: March 22, 2021


Despite the promise of efficiency through the use of expert agency adjudication in U.S. patent law, administrative substitution continues to fall short. In a variety of ways, the decade-old system of Patent Office adjudication is simply an additional place to litigate rather than the robust technocratic alternative it was meant to be. These problems have arisen from important defects in the statutory design, but also from the enormous expansion and ascendancy of the Patent Office itself. Moreover, while duplicative litigation over patent validity is recognized and criticized, its scale and scope has eluded detailed empirical analysis until now. This Article documents and measures those ill effects and explains their structural origins. It evaluates varying responses from Federal Circuit and Supreme Court decisions and from regulatory experimentation in the Patent Office itself. The Article concludes with proposals for reform. The analytical framework for reform that is suggested here is especially timely given the incompleteness of judicial and regulatory responses thus far.

Keywords: patent, administrative, litigation, substitution, duplication, efficiency, America Invents Act, inter partes, post grant, NHK, Fintiv, USPTO, PTAB, ITC, AIA, IPR, CBM, PGR

JEL Classification: D23, D73, K23, K41, O31, O34, O38

Suggested Citation

Vishnubhakat, Saurabh, Patent Inconsistency (March 22, 2021). Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 97, No. 1, 2022, Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 21-42, Available at SSRN:

Saurabh Vishnubhakat (Contact Author)

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ( email )

55 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10003
United States


Duke University School of Law

Durham, NC

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