If the Feds Want an Effective Stimulus, They Should Spend to Reduce the Patent Backlog

In my seminar on the Economics of Technology on Tuesday night (11/30/10), Gauri presented some interesting information on intellectual property. At one point she summarized that the lag in processing patents is about three years, but it takes, on average, only about 18 hours to process a patent once the processing has begun.
Later in the seminar, we talked about a brief article by Amar Bhidé on whether large economic stimulus programs have worked in the past, and will work in the present. Bhidé was skeptical, and I am too.
But it occurred to me that one modest economic stimulus expenditure might help. Why not make the highest stimulus spending priority to hire and train enough patent examiners to reduce the patent lag from three years to, say, three weeks?

The Bhidé article mentioned above is:
Bhidé, Amar. “Don’t Believe the Stimulus Scaremongers.” Wall Street Journal, (Tues., February 17, 2009): A15.

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