Effects of stronger disclosure rule on applicants’ behavior and on examination efficiency: Evidence from Japan

Authors: Takahiro Maeda (Hitotsubashi University), Sadao Nagaoka (Tokyo Keizai University) and Yusuke Naito (Hitotsubashi University)

This study investigates the impact of stronger prior art disclosure rule introduced in Japan in September 2002 on the disclosure conduct by the applicants and on the examination efficiency. Such rule was introduced to improve the examination efficiency as well as to strengthen the stability of the patent right, although the penalty of not following the rule is minimal. The disclosure of the prior art which is more relevant for examination increased significantly after the legal change. A theory suggests that an inventor with high quality patent is more likely to disclose the prior art since the gain from examination efficiency as well as from the stability of the patent right is larger. We find empirical results supporting these predictions.

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