Time to patent at the USPTO: the case of emerging entrepreneurial firms

Kenneth Zahringer, Christos Kolympiris, Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (SciVal)


In this paper we establish facts about the time it takes to process patent applications submitted by emerging entrepreneurial firms in high technology areas in the US. These facts, subsequently, inform our understanding of the strategic decisions made by entrepreneurial firms when it comes to expedite or delay the patent application process. Empirically, we exploit data describing more than 15,000 patents granted across time to 910 life sciences firms that won grants from the Small Business Innovation Research program. The econometric evidence is consistent with the argument that the cohort of entrepreneurial firms we study has adopted a strategic choice to maintain patent applications pending for prolonged times. We also find that examiners, patent attorneys, USPTO workload as well as application-specific features influence the time length of patent pendency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-952
Number of pages30
JournalThe Journal of Technology Transfer
Issue number4
Early online date26 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2018


  • Backlog
  • Emerging firms
  • Life sciences
  • Patent pendency
  • SBIR


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