Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law
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Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law

Vol 1: Theory Vol 2: Analytical Methods

Edited by Ben Depoorter, Peter Menell and David Schwartz

Both law and economics and intellectual property law have expanded dramatically in tandem over recent decades. This field-defining two-volume Handbook, featuring the leading legal, empirical, and law and economics scholars studying intellectual property rights, provides wide-ranging and in-depth analysis both of the economic theory underpinning intellectual property law, and the use of analytical methods to study it.
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Chapter 4: Empirical scholarship on the prosecution process at the USPTO

Michael D. Frakes and Melissa F. Wasserman


While there is a substantial literature in law and economics bearing on the patent system, the administrative process by which patent rights are initially established has received scant attention. In the past decade, a growing but nascent literature has emerged that has begun to shed empirical light on the patent examination process. This chapter will provide a brief overview of this literature, focusing only on studies that carry significant empirical components and only on studies of the U.S. patent system. The need for sound empirical guidance on the administrative process of obtaining a patent is substantial. Without sufficient empirical evidence as to which features of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shape the Agency’s decision making, policymakers are left trying to reform the patent system without understanding the root cause of the system’s pathologies

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