F Scott Kieff

Document Type



Critics of the patent system suggest the rules for determining patentability should be stricter, subjecting patents to More scrutiny during Patent Office examination. This Article offers a counterintuitive model system under which patent applications are registered, not examined, to elucidate a new normative view that sees present positive law rules for obtaining patents as primarily operating to minimize social cost, and that accounts for otherwise puzzling aspects of the patent system. This "registration" theory for patent-obtaining rules is a companion to the "commercialization" theory for .patent-enforcing rules by the same author. This Article shows how these theories together offer a more coherent view of the patent system than the "reward," "prospect," and "rent dissipation" theories. This Article further identifies those patentability rules that are essential and those that should be reformed, while revealing inherent registration aspects of our present system and reasons for eschewing reforms presented elsewhere.