Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Should Europe dictate US patent policy?

Beginning in the year 2001, Quillen and Webster produced a series of papers arguing that the US Patent Office had a phenomenally higher patent grant rate than did the EPO or the JPO. At the time, the actual grant rate at the USPTO was typically in the range 62% to 68% (and is lower now), but Quillen and Webster suggested the higher numbers, such as 97%, based on an analysis of continuing applications (including continuations, divisionals, and continuations-in-part). The approach of Quillen and Webster was shown to be inaccurate. [See PATENT GRANT RATES AT THE UNITED STATES PATENT AND

The idea that one could compare patent grant rates in the United States to those in Europe, which operates under different rules, was not discussed much. Recently, in the matter of the nomination of Peter Diamond of MIT (later awarded a Nobel Prize), by Barack Obama to the Fed, one got a memorable quote from Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, who opposed Diamond, both before and after the Nobel award, and remarked:

"the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences does not determine who is qualified to serve" on the Fed.

Similarly, of course, the patent policies of the EPO and JPO should not determine those of the USPTO, especially when a comparison between them is based on mathematical gobbleygook.

Of this year's prize in economics, EE Times had written:

This year’s Nobel Prize in Economics went to a trio of labor scholars who have focused on jobless research. Talk about timely! Specifically, Dale Mortensen of Northwestern University, MIT’s Peter Diamond and Christopher Pissarides of the London School of Economics and Political Science studied “disparities in the marketplace,” or, why jobs go unfilled even when unemployment is high. In announcing the award, the Nobel committee said the Diamond-Mortensen-Pissarides model helps “us understand the ways in which unemployment, job vacancies and wages are affected by regulation and economic policy.”The model has frequently been used to estimate how factors like unemployment benefits, interest rates and the usefulness of employment agencies affect the overall labor market.

"The Week" got into a nuance of the Diamond nomination:

But it should be "edifying" to hear about the substance of his research — such as his conclusion that unemployment benefits, union rules against firing people, and other "frictions" can make it harder for the jobless to find work. The confirmation hearings will make Democrats squirm as their nominee explains how their policies make unemployment worse.

Now, if patent academics could only figure out that things like oppositions would only make the present patent application system worse!

See also

The concept of patent quality as a hunt for unicorns

Does the US need European style oppositions?

Quillen and Webster alive and well at Patently-O?

**Of the recent allowance rates at the USPTO, from David Kappos:

Overall in FY 2010, the allowance rate increased to 45.6%, compared to an allowance rate of 41.3% in FY 2009.

[See also numbers at inventive step blog:]

The issue raised by Quillen and Webster WAS bogus in 2001 and IS bogus in 2010.

**In passing,
xabier goenaga


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