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William and Mary Law School




Measures that discourage excessive patenting and claiming, propose shared examination responsibilities, and increase staffing all have potential to raise examination quality and alleviate the patent application backlog. So far these measures have been too limited to have much impact, and there is insufficient evidence to reliably judge their effectiveness. In this Article, I consider a different approach to examination reform. I take as given a significant scarcity of examiner time, and I ask how the PTO should set examination priorities. In other words, how much of their eighteen hours should examiners devote to the various tasks they are expected to conduct before allowing a patent to issue?

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