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Hastings Science and Technology Law Journal

Abstract

This paper analyzes the impact of prior art citation by inventors on examiner citations and upon the time to patent approval. Using two discrete datasets comprised of extensive filing data, this analysis presents conclusions regarding the impact of applicant citations on filing, and uses these conclusions to extrapolate to a broader analysis of filing strategy with respect to prior art citation. Specifically, applicants who systematically under-cite prior art stand to benefit. Though the time from filing to approval does not vary greatly with applicant citations, the time spent by the examiner on filling in prior art does. As such, applicants who cite less stand to have less time spent by the examiner during the application process on substantive evaluation, than on researching prior art.

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