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Examination workloads, grant decision bias and examination quality of patent office

Yee Kyoung Kim and Jun Byoung Oh

Research Policy, 2017, vol. 46, issue 5, 1005-1019

Abstract: This paper investigates how increased examination workloads at patent office affect the patent examination process and tests whether workloads have any external effect on examiners’ decisions. Using novel micro-level data, we provide the first empirical evidence that examiner decisions are systematically biased as workload increases, with examiners being more likely to grant a patent than to reject it. The regression results also indicate that the quality of examinations decreases as workload increases. In appeal trials, the likelihood of grant decision reversal significantly increases as workload increases, while the likelihood of the revocation of a refusal decision exhibits statistically significant negative relationship with increased workloads. These results imply that an examiner who lacks sufficient time for a prior art search tends to grant a patent and, consequently, a large workload decreases the quality of examinations by resulting in unqualified patents.

Keywords: K0; O30; O38; Examination workloads; Grant decision bias; Type II error; Quality of examinations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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