Rational Ignorance at the Patent Office

  title={Rational Ignorance at the Patent Office},
  author={Mark A. Lemley},
  journal={Northwestern University Law Review},
  • Mark A. Lemley
  • Published 1 February 2001
  • Economics
  • Northwestern University Law Review
It is common to assert that the Patent and Trademark Office does a bad job of examining patents, and that it should spend more time and money weeding out bad patents. In this article, Professor Lemley challenges that conventional wisdom. Using available data regarding the cost and incidence of patent prosecution, litigation, licensing and other uses of patents, he demonstrates that strengthening the examination process is not cost effective. The core insight is that very few patents are… 

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  • Comment
  • 2000

782 F.2d 159 (Fed. Cir. 1986) (holding that willful infringement alone can make a case "exceptional