Average Patent Pendency and Examination Errors: A Queuing Theoretic Analysis
30 Pages Posted: 2 May 2007
Date Written: July 2007
Researchers have raised two concerns about the current patent approval process by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). First, it takes too long to process applications. Second, examiners make too many errors in the approval process. The first concern suggests that examiners ought to be less stringent in their decision making and hence take less time in processing applications. The second concern suggests exactly the opposite. Given this state of affairs, we analyze the following question: Does a more stringent examination of applications always lengthen the pendency period? Our theoretical analysis shows that there is no definite answer to this question. Hence, we use numerical methods and our numerical analysis leads to two conclusions. For many values of the model parameters that describe the stringency of examinations, a more stringent examination process does lengthen the pendency period. In contrast, for most values of the model parameter that describes the volume of patent applications handled by the PTO under study, a more stringent examination process does not lengthen the pendency period.
Keywords: Errors, Examination, Patent Pendency, Queuing Theory, Uncertainty
JEL Classification: O320, O340, D810
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