Inflation Indicators

Yale Law Journal Online, Vol. 121, p. 375, 2012

13 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2012

See all articles by Jonathan S. Masur

Jonathan S. Masur

University of Chicago - Law School

Date Written: December 20, 2011


In Patent Inflation, I argued that the asymmetry in Federal Circuit review of Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) decisions would lead over time to inflation in the boundaries defining what inventions are patentable. In short essays, Professor Arti Rai and Lisa Ouellette have offered valuable commentary, including both qualitative (Rai) and quantitative (Ouellette) evidence bearing on the question of inflation. In this brief response, I explain how their evidence is consistent with — indeed, bolsters — the theory presented in Patent Inflation. Direct Federal Circuit reversals of PTO decisions make up only a small portion of that court’s caseload. But those cases have exerted outsized influence on the development of the law, particularly across a number of the most significant patent doctrines. This is just as Patent Inflation would predict.

Keywords: PTO, patent, Federal Circuit, inflation, patentability, administration

Suggested Citation

Masur, Jonathan S., Inflation Indicators (December 20, 2011). Yale Law Journal Online, Vol. 121, p. 375, 2012, Available at SSRN:

Jonathan S. Masur (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

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773.702.5188 (Phone)


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