Does the USPTO over-grant patents during times when it lacks sufficient resources?
Frakes and Wasserman draw from the law review article -- Does the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Grant Too Many Bad Patents?: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment, in the Stanford Law Review. --
in a post titled
Improving Patent Quality by Reducing the Patent Office’s Backlog of Applications including
Our previous work found evidence suggesting that the Patent Office does indeed act on this incentive and over-grants patents during times when it lacks sufficient resources to meet its expected demand of examination. More specifically, our findings have suggested that the Patent Office has preferentially granted those patents it stands to benefit the most from—namely, those in high-repeat-filing-rate technologies, such as information and communication technologies, which includes software, business methods, and information storage, as well as health-related technologies, which includes surgical and medical instruments and genetics. To the extent this desire to grant additional patents arises from an effort to diminish the Patent Office’s growing backlog—and not from the validity or merits of the underlying applications—our analysis demonstrates that the backlog itself (and the repeat filings driving the backlog) may be a key explanation behind the deterioration in patent quality facing the Patent Office.