Research mission

The Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) initiates and oversees groundbreaking analyses covering the economics of intellectual property -- patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Our work supports evidence based policy making and is communicated through conferences, peer-reviewed articles, working papers, and reports. The OCE research agenda is organized under three broad themes.

1. Evaluating the nature, role, and impact of IP on innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic performance

Examples in this area include:

  • Analyzing the contribution of IP rights to firm performance and economic growth
  • Quantifying the extent to which patents, copyrights and trademarks incentivize investment and innovation
  • Understanding the role IP plays in markets for technology and information goods


2. Assessing the economic implications of domestic and international laws and policies regarding IP

Examples in this area include:

  • Characterizing the trends and impacts of patent litigation
  • Examining IP rights in standard setting and standards policy
  • Analyzing legal changes such as the 2011 Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA)


3. Examining the economic aspects and potential consequences of USPTO initiatives

Examples in this area include:

  • Evaluating efforts to reduce PTO application backlogs
  • Understanding factors related to IP quality