USPTO is doing ok on patent quality

The April / May edition of IAM Magazine carries an interview about patent quality with a number of intellectual property specialists around the globe.
When I was interviewed for the article, I commented that I actually ‘t think the USPTO is doing a pretty good job on this front. I braced myself for the inevitable backlash, but it didn’t come.
Instead, the only comments I received were positive (notwithstanding the large amount of noise in the industry about deteriorating patent quality).
Interestingly, the June 2008 edition of the Licensing Executives Society journal (Les Nouvelles) carries an article and detailed analysis from James Malackowski and Jonathan Barney (both from Ocean Tomo) who conclude the same thing – based on statistical data from the stock market.
The ever-increasing number of patents filed each year (particularly in China – now around 700,000 per annum) is adding a lot of pressure to the system and clearly we need to find some alternatives to allow patent quality to sit at the right level. One of the models I like best is ‘examination on demand’ for patent applications. The patent applicant can choose whether to have an application examined, but can not enforce until this is done, and suffers a likely lower valuation before examination as well. (Thanks to Danny from our team for kicking off an internal discussion about this recently.)
What do you think?

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