Is the Market for Ideas a Market for Lemons?

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Academic Paper
Title Is the Market for Ideas a Market for Lemons?
Author Ed Egan
Status Tabled
©, 2016


Rational ignorance at the patent office can only be efficient if there is no market for ideas. If patents are sold in a market then, as their is an information asymmetry between the inventor (or current user) and the purchaser, one should expect a market for lemons. Low quality patents would be more likely to be litigated as they are less clear and hence more prone to be infringed. They would also be more likely to be found invalid conditional on litigation. Using a novel dataset on patent reassignments, this paper explores the relationship between patent sales and litigation outcomes.


Policy Relevance

  • Huge implications for patent reform!
  • First estimate of the effects of the America Invents Act on patent quality
  • Current Patent acts are weakening enforcement rights - can we estimate the effect on the market?