discretion. Although idiosyncratic behavior of examiners can be controlled to some extent by formal processes such as supervision, selection of examiners, training, and incentives, the institution’s cultural norms necessarily play an important role in their exercise of discretion in awarding patent rights. Policy changes that impact the organizational structure and internal culture of the USPTO should be careful to take patent examiner behavior into account.


Cohen, W., R.R. Nelson, and J.P Walsh. (2000). “Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not).” NBER Working Paper No. 7552.

Griliches, Z., ed. (1984). R&D, Patents and Productivity.Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.

Griliches, Z. (1990). “Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey.” Journal of Economic Literature 92: 630-653.

Hall, B., A. Jaffe, and M. Trajtenberg. (2001). “The NBER Patent Citation Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools.” NBER Working Paper No. 8498.

Hall, B., and R. Ziedonis. (2001). “The Patent Paradox Revisited: An Empirical Study of Patenting in the US Semiconductor Industry 1979-1995.” RAND Journal of Economics 32(1): 101-28.

Jaffe, A., R. Henderson, and M. Trajtenberg. (1998). “Universities as a Source of Commercial Technology: A Detailed Analysis of University Patenting, 1965-1988.” Review of Economics and Statistics 80(1): 119-127

King, J. (2003). “Patent Examination Procedures and Patent Quality.” In W. Cohen and S. Merrill, eds., Patents in the Knowledge-Based Economy. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

Lanjouw, J., and M. Schankerman. (2001). “Characteristics of Patent Litigation: A Window on Competition.” RAND Journal of Economics 32(1): 129-151.

Lanjouw, J., and J. Lerner. (2001). “Tilting the Table? The Use of Preliminary Injunctions.” Journal of Law and Economics 44(2): 573-603.

Levin, R., A. Klevorick, R. Nelson, and S. Winter. (1987). “Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D.” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, No. 3: 783-831.

Lerner, J. (2002). “150 Years of Patent Protection.”American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings 92(2): 221-225.

Waldfogel, J. (1995). “The Selection Hypothesis and the Relationship Between Trial and Plaintiff Victory.” Journal of Political Economy 103: 224-260.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement