Researchers See Patent Quality in Rising Citation Counts
Joff Wild, a journalist and blogger for Intellectual Asset Management Magazine, makes some interesting observations about a new study that claims that the quality of patents issued by the USPTO is rising. The research found, among other things, significant growth in prior art citations in issued patents over the last five years: 41 percent more US patent docs, 36 percent more foreign patent docs and 23 percent more non-patent literature. Wild points out that this research contradicts claims that US patent examiners frequently miss relevant prior art and issue low-quality patents. The research was published in the June issue of Les Nouvelles, the official publication of the Licensing Executives Society (LES).
I'm the librarian for research services in the Engineering and Science Library at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. I've been working with patent information since 1991, including seven years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I believe that the dissemination of patent information is a public good and should be promoted, especially in the education of science and engineering students.