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Does the outsourcing of prior art search increase the efficiency of patent examination?

Isamu Yamauchi and Sadao Nagaoka

No 13-12, IIR Working Paper from Institute of Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University

Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of outsourcing of prior art search on the efficiency of patent examination, using a large scale Japanese patent examination data. Outsourcing may increase examination quality by expanding the scope of prior art search, while it may have a negative effect if the synergy between search and examination is important. If examination quality is the predominant concern for outsourcing decision and the outsourcing is constrained by budgetary resources, we expect that outsourcing enhances examination quality at its margin. On the other hand, if an examiner can save private cost by outsourcing, an increase in outsourcing can decrease the quality. Controlling for the endogeneity of outsourcing decision as well as examiners’ fixed effects, we found that the outsourcing of prior art search significantly decreased the frequency of appeals against both examiners’ rejection and grant decisions and reduced the length of examination duration. At the same time we found that the prior art search of complex inventions is not outsourced. These suggest that the opportunity for exploiting external knowledge and capability can increase the quality as well as the speed of examination.

Keywords: patent; examination; outsourcing; search; prior art (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O38 O34 O30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cul, nep-ino, nep-ipr and nep-pr~
Date: 2013-05
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