Does decreasing the allowance rate improve the quality of US patents?

Intellectual Asset Magazine reports that later this month it will publish an article about “the controversial subject of patent quality” in the United States.  As reported by Joff Wild in the IAM blog, the USPTO’s allowance rate has dropped from 72 percent in 2000 to 44 percent in the first quarter of 2008.

Does decreasing the allowance rate improve patent quality? If so, has the USPTO gone too far in the other direction so that prosecution costs for inventors are unfairly increased, and valuable innovations are excluded from patent protection?    

The article will present a variety of viewpoints, including those of USPTO director Jon Dudas; Judge Pauline Newman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; European Patent Office president Alison Brimelow; and IP professionals from Fujitsu, Microsoft and GlaxoSmithKline.   I look forward to the article’s publication in the next issue of IAM later this month.

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