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# The system of patent-granting, which confers temporary monopolies for

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Passage breakdown

In the first sentence, the author:

• Explains the original intention of the patent system: it was supposed to be "an incentive to the pursuit of risky new ideas."

Then, the author:

• Argues that companies are not meeting this intention.

In the last sentence, the author:

• Explains what companies might actually doing with the patent system: using patents strategically to ward off suits/block competitors.

For more on this process, check out this article and our live RC videos.

Explanations for individual questions

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General Discussion
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Re: The system of patent-granting, which confers temporary monopolies for [#permalink]
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1. The passage is primarily concerned with discussing ____
A. a study suggesting that the semiconductor industry's approach to patenting during the period from 1982 to 1992 yielded unanticipated results
B. a study of the semiconductor industry during the period from 1982 to 1992 that advocates certain changes in the industry's management of the patenting process
C. the connection between patenting and innovation in the semiconductor industry during the period from 1982 to 1992
D. reasons that investment in research and development in the semiconductor industry did not increase significantly during the period from 1982 to 1992
E. certain factors that made the period from 1982 to 1992 a time of intense patenting activity in the semiconductor industry

2. The passage suggests which of the following about patenting in the semiconductor industry during the period from 1982 to 1992 ?
A The declining number of citations per semiconductor patent in the technical literature undermines the notion that patenting activity increased during this period.
B A decline in patent quality forced firms to change the way they managed the patenting process.
C Increased efficiencies allowed firms to derive more patents from existing research and development expenditures.
D Firms' emphasis on filing patents for strategic purposes may have contributed to a decline in patent quality.
E Firms' attempts to derive more patents from existing research and development expenditures may have contributed to a decline in infringement suites.

3. The passage makes which of the following claims about patent quality in the semiconductor industry?
A. It was higher in the early 1980's than it was a decade later.
B. It is largely independent of the number of patents granted.
C. It changed between 1982 and 1992 in ways that were linked to changes in research and development expenditures.
D. It is not adequately discussed in the industry's technical literature.
E. It was measured by inappropriate means during the period from 1982 to 1992.

4. Which of the following, if true, would most clearly serve to weaken the author's claim about what constitutes a reasonable yardstick for measuring patent quality?
A. It is more difficult to have an article accepted for publication in the technical literature of the semiconductor industry than it is in the technical literature of most other industries.
B. Many of the highest-quality semiconductor patents are cited numerous times in the technical literature.
C. It is difficult for someone not familiar with the technical literature to recognize what constitutes an innovative semiconductor patent.
D. There were more citations made per semiconductor patent in the technical literature in the 1970's than in the 1980's.
E. Low-quality patents tend to be discussed in the technical literature as frequently as high-quality patents.

5. The passage suggests that the use of patents as bargaining chips to ward off infringement suits
A. was rarely successful during the 1980s
B. became increasingly infrequent in the 1980s
C. does not fulfill the intended purpose of the patent- granting system
D. is a consequence of the decline in patent quality
E. is discussed increasingly in the semiconductor industry's technical literature
[

Originally posted by bb61 on 12 Aug 2014, 08:53.
Last edited by PiyushK on 13 Aug 2014, 21:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The system of patent-granting, which confers temporary monopolies for [#permalink]
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Time Taken:8:10 mins
[Got tricked by Q1]
1. The passage is primarily concerned with discussing ____
C. the connection between patenting and innovation in the semiconductor industry during the period from 1982 to 1992

2. The passage suggests which of the following about patenting in the semiconductor industry during the period from 1982 to 1992 ?
D Firms' emphasis on filing patents for strategic purposes may have contributed to a decline in patent quality.
"This decline in quality may be related to changes in the way semi-conductor firms managed their patenting process:"

3. The passage makes which of the following claims about patent quality in the semiconductor industry?
A. It was higher in the early 1980's than it was a decade later.
"Moreover, Ziedonis and Hall found that as patenting activity at semiconductor firms increased in the 1980's, the consensus among industry employees was that the average quality of their firms' patents declined."

4. Which of the following, if true, would most clearly serve to weaken the author's claim about what constitutes a reasonable yardstick for measuring patent quality?
E. Low-quality patents tend to be discussed in the technical literature as frequently as high-quality patents.
"Though patent quality is a difficult notion to measure, the number of times a patent is cited in the technical literature is a reasonable yardstick, and citations per semiconductor patent did decline during the 1980's. "

5. The passage suggests that the use of patents as bargaining chips to ward off infringement suits
C. does not fulfill the intended purpose of the patent- granting system
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The system of patent-granting, which confers temporary monopolies for [#permalink]
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3. The passage makes which of the following claims about patent quality in the semiconductor industry?
A. It was higher in the early 1980's than it was a decade later.
The passage says that number of times a patents cited in tech literature declined during 1980's and that this number is a measure of quality of patent so we can infer that quality of patnets was higher in the early 1980's

B. It is largely independent of the number of patents granted.
From the passage we see that there is present such sequence:
1. Firms trying to pursue their strategic purposes
2. Firms makes more patents by "simply squeezed more patents out of existing research"
3. Quality of patents decline

So according to the passage there is present a link between number of patents and quality of patents.

C. It changed between 1982 and 1992 in ways that were linked to changes in research and development expenditures.
According to passage there is was a correlation between decline in research and development and decline in quality of patents. But correlation is not a causality. The real cause of decline of patents' quality is a strategic goals of firms and not the economy in research and department.

D. It is not adequately discussed in the industry's technical literature.
We know that number of times a patent cited in tech literature is a measure of quality of patent but passage says nothing about what exactly discussed in tech literature.

E. It was measured by inappropriate means during the period from 1982 to 1992.
The passage says that number of times a patent cited in tech literature is a "reasonable yardstick"­
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Re: The system of patent-granting, which confers temporary monopolies for [#permalink]
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Took 8 mins 30 seconds , including 2 mins to read .
- The author mentions a study conducted to show that patenting and innovation are not necessarily connected.
- The author also provides possible reasons on why this might have been the case

Option (A) and Option (B) are incorrect because the author uses the study as an example but is not primarily concerned with the study .
Option (D) is completely irrelevant and Option (E) is not the author s main point but just an additional point to the Passage

2.
"Instead, semiconductor firms simply squeezed more patents out of existing research and development expenditures. Moreover, Ziedonis and Hall found that as patenting activity at semiconductor firms increased in the 1980’s, the consensus among industry employees was that the average quality of their firms’ patents declined."
"rather than patenting to win exclusive rights to a valuable new technology, patents were filed more for strategic purposes"
The excerpt above suggests that since firms emphasized on filing patents for strategic purposes, it contributed to a decline in patent quality.

3.

4. "the number of times a patent is cited in the technical literature is a reasonable yardstick"
The author's claim would be weakened if both low quality patents ate high quality patents are discussed with the same frequency.

5.
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Can someone please explain why option A is wrong for Question 4

Conclusion: the number of times a patent is cited in the technical literature is a reasonable yardstick, and citations per semiconductor patent did decline during the 1980's

As per option A = IF It is more difficult to have an article accepted for publication in the technical literature of the semiconductor industry than it is in the technical literature of most other industries. THEN it would explain why the number of citations were less.

4. Which of the following, if true, would most clearly serve to weaken the author's claim about what constitutes a reasonable yardstick for measuring patent quality?
A. It is more difficult to have an article accepted for publication in the technical literature of the semiconductor industry than it is in the technical literature of most other industries.
B. Many of the highest-quality semiconductor patents are cited numerous times in the technical literature.
C. It is difficult for someone not familiar with the technical literature to recognize what constitutes an innovative semiconductor patent.
D. There were more citations made per semiconductor patent in the technical literature in the 1970's than in the 1980's.
E. Low-quality patents tend to be discussed in the technical literature as frequently as high-quality patents.
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ameyaprabhu
Can someone please explain why option A is wrong for Question 4

Conclusion: the number of times a patent is cited in the technical literature is a reasonable yardstick, and citations per semiconductor patent did decline during the 1980's

As per option A = IF It is more difficult to have an article accepted for publication in the technical literature of the semiconductor industry than it is in the technical literature of most other industries. THEN it would explain why the number of citations were less.

4. Which of the following, if true, would most clearly serve to weaken the author's claim about what constitutes a reasonable yardstick for measuring patent quality?
A. It is more difficult to have an article accepted for publication in the technical literature of the semiconductor industry than it is in the technical literature of most other industries.
B. Many of the highest-quality semiconductor patents are cited numerous times in the technical literature.
C. It is difficult for someone not familiar with the technical literature to recognize what constitutes an innovative semiconductor patent.
D. There were more citations made per semiconductor patent in the technical literature in the 1970's than in the 1980's.
E. Low-quality patents tend to be discussed in the technical literature as frequently as high-quality patents.
Choice (A) might explain why there are fewer articles per semiconductor patent COMPARED to articles per patent in most other industries, but this does NOT explain why citations per semiconductor patent declined during the 1980's.

For example, say that in the early 1980's, on average, 50 articles were published per semiconductor patent and 100 articles were published per patent in most other industries. In the late 1980's, only 10 articles were published per semiconductor patent while the number per patent in most other industries remained roughly the same. This is consistent with choice (A) because it suggests that it is more difficult to have an article accepted for publication in the technical literature of the semiconductor industry. However, choice (A) does NOT explain why the number of citations per semiconductor patent declined during the 1980's. Thus, the citations evidence could still support the idea that patent quality declined during the 1980's, and (A) must be eliminated.

However, what if the number of LOW quality semiconductor patents decreased while the number of HIGH quality semiconductor patents remained the same? If "low-quality patents tend to be discussed in the technical literature as frequently as high-quality patents" (choice (E)), this would explain why the number of citations per semiconductor patent would have declined EVEN IF patent quality did not decline. Thus, choice (E) weakens the author's argument and is the correct answer.
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Re: The system of patent-granting, which confers temporary monopolies for [#permalink]
Hi GMATNinja and GMATNinja Two

1. The passage is primarily concerned with discussing ____
A. a study suggesting that the semiconductor industry's approach to patenting during the period from 1982 to 1992 yielded unanticipated results
B. a study of the semiconductor industry during the period from 1982 to 1992 that advocates certain changes in the industry's management of the patenting process
C. the connection between patenting and innovation in the semiconductor industry during the period from 1982 to 1992
D. reasons that investment in research and development in the semiconductor industry did not increase significantly during the period from 1982 to 1992
E. certain factors that made the period from 1982 to 1992 a time of intense patenting activity in the semiconductor industry

Can you help to answer why option E in Q1 is wrong?
I chose E over C because
- In the last line of the passage, the author explicitly calls out "factors" that caused the decline in patent quality
- The passage activiely also talks about the increase in "Patenting ACtivity" ; The "Patenting Activity" increased due to the factors mentioned in the last line of the passage

Can you let me know where I went wrong?
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Hi GMATNinja and GMATNinja Two

1. The passage is primarily concerned with discussing ____
A. a study suggesting that the semiconductor industry's approach to patenting during the period from 1982 to 1992 yielded unanticipated results
B. a study of the semiconductor industry during the period from 1982 to 1992 that advocates certain changes in the industry's management of the patenting process
C. the connection between patenting and innovation in the semiconductor industry during the period from 1982 to 1992
D. reasons that investment in research and development in the semiconductor industry did not increase significantly during the period from 1982 to 1992
E. certain factors that made the period from 1982 to 1992 a time of intense patenting activity in the semiconductor industry

Can you help to answer why option E in Q1 is wrong?
I chose E over C because
- In the last line of the passage, the author explicitly calls out "factors" that caused the decline in patent quality
- The passage activiely also talks about the increase in "Patenting ACtivity" ; The "Patenting Activity" increased due to the factors mentioned in the last line of the passage

Can you let me know where I went wrong?
Choice (E) might be a true statement, but remember that we are looking for an answer choice that describes what the passage is PRIMARILY concerned with. Does the passage cite factors that made the period from 1982 to 1992 a time of intense patenting activity in the semiconductor industry? Yes, but the author cites those factors in order to strengthen the argument that the increase in patenting activity was not a result of an increase in innovation.

As stated in choice (C), "the passage is primarily concerned with discussing the connection between patenting and innovation in the semiconductor industry during the period from 1982 to 1992." The factors mentioned in choice (E) simply contribute to that discussion.

I hope that helps!
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Re: The system of patent-granting, which confers temporary monopolies for [#permalink]
Hi! Have gone through all the responses above, but still not clear why A is not the answer for question 1.

(A) a study suggesting that the semiconductor industry’s approach to patenting during the period from 1982 to 1992 yielded unanticipated results

Because of patent, we would expect patenting activity to be directly related with becoming more innovative.

However, a study (Ziedonis and Hall) yielded results contrary to expectations (unanticipated results). Hence, I thought A is the answer.

Could it be that A is correct, but not the main idea?
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Re: The system of patent-granting, which confers temporary monopolies for [#permalink]
Also, while I got question 5 correct (by process of elimination), where does the passage "suggest" that the use of patents as bargaining chips to ward off infringement suits does not fulfill the intended purpose of the patent-granting system?

The use of patents as bargaining chips to ward off infringement suits seems to be just mentioned as a reason for low quality of patents. Does this mean that the passage is implying that the act of using patents does not fulfill the intended purpose of the patent-granting system?
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Re: The system of patent-granting, which confers temporary monopolies for [#permalink]
3. The passage makes which of the following claims about patent quality in the semiconductor industry?

(A) It was higher in the early 1980???s than it was a decade later.
(B) It is largely independent of the number of patents granted.
(C) It changed between 1982 and 1992 in ways that were linked to changes in research and development expenditures.
(D) It is not adequately discussed in the industry???s technical literature.
(E) It was measured by inappropriate means during the period from 1982 to 1992.

Hi, Could someone explain the answer to the above question? If the citations per semiconductor(alias for quality according to the passage) declined during the 1980s, how can we infer that the quality was higher than that in 1990? or am I missing out something here?

On a side note, what does the phrase 'most feverish' mean in this passage? Many thanks :D
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Why is option D incorrect in question 5?
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Why is option D incorrect in question 5?
Let's consider the entire statement:

Quote:
5. The passage suggests that the use of patents as bargaining chips to ward off infringement suits... (D) ...is a consequence of the decline in patent quality
If we pick (D), we're saying that the use of patents as bargaining chips is a consequence of the decline in patent quality.

But the passage definitely doesn't say that the decline in patent quality led to the use of patents as bargaining chips.

If anything, the passage lightly suggests that the opposite may be true:

Quote:
This decline in quality may be related to changes in the way semi-conductor firms managed their patenting process: rather than patenting to win exclusive rights...patents were filed...to be used as bargaining chips to ward off infringement suits or as a means to block competitor's products.
I hope this, along with my previous look at question #5, helps to clarify!
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Can someone please explain why option A is wrong for Question 4

Conclusion: the number of times a patent is cited in the technical literature is a reasonable yardstick, and citations per semiconductor patent did decline during the 1980's

As per option A = IF It is more difficult to have an article accepted for publication in the technical literature of the semiconductor industry than it is in the technical literature of most other industries. THEN it would explain why the number of citations were less.

4. Which of the following, if true, would most clearly serve to weaken the author's claim about what constitutes a reasonable yardstick for measuring patent quality?
A. It is more difficult to have an article accepted for publication in the technical literature of the semiconductor industry than it is in the technical literature of most other industries.
B. Many of the highest-quality semiconductor patents are cited numerous times in the technical literature.
C. It is difficult for someone not familiar with the technical literature to recognize what constitutes an innovative semiconductor patent.
D. There were more citations made per semiconductor patent in the technical literature in the 1970's than in the 1980's.
E. Low-quality patents tend to be discussed in the technical literature as frequently as high-quality patents.
Choice (A) might explain why there are fewer articles per semiconductor patent COMPARED to articles per patent in most other industries, but this does NOT explain why citations per semiconductor patent declined during the 1980's.

For example, say that in the early 1980's, on average, 50 articles were published per semiconductor patent and 100 articles were published per patent in most other industries. In the late 1980's, only 10 articles were published per semiconductor patent while the number per patent in most other industries remained roughly the same. This is consistent with choice (A) because it suggests that it is more difficult to have an article accepted for publication in the technical literature of the semiconductor industry. However, choice (A) does NOT explain why the number of citations per semiconductor patent declined during the 1980's. Thus, the citations evidence could still support the idea that patent quality declined during the 1980's, and (A) must be eliminated.

However, what if the number of LOW quality semiconductor patents decreased while the number of HIGH quality semiconductor patents remained the same? If "low-quality patents tend to be discussed in the technical literature as frequently as high-quality patents" (choice (E)), this would explain why the number of citations per semiconductor patent would have declined EVEN IF patent quality did not decline. Thus, choice (E) weakens the author's argument and is the correct answer.

Hello GMAT NINJA,

Can you please explain why option B is incorrect. And also please elaborate your explaination for the above if possible.

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Can someone please explain why option A is wrong for Question 4

Conclusion: the number of times a patent is cited in the technical literature is a reasonable yardstick, and citations per semiconductor patent did decline during the 1980's

As per option A = IF It is more difficult to have an article accepted for publication in the technical literature of the semiconductor industry than it is in the technical literature of most other industries. THEN it would explain why the number of citations were less.

4. Which of the following, if true, would most clearly serve to weaken the author's claim about what constitutes a reasonable yardstick for measuring patent quality?
A. It is more difficult to have an article accepted for publication in the technical literature of the semiconductor industry than it is in the technical literature of most other industries.
B. Many of the highest-quality semiconductor patents are cited numerous times in the technical literature.
C. It is difficult for someone not familiar with the technical literature to recognize what constitutes an innovative semiconductor patent.
D. There were more citations made per semiconductor patent in the technical literature in the 1970's than in the 1980's.
E. Low-quality patents tend to be discussed in the technical literature as frequently as high-quality patents.
Choice (A) might explain why there are fewer articles per semiconductor patent COMPARED to articles per patent in most other industries, but this does NOT explain why citations per semiconductor patent declined during the 1980's.

For example, say that in the early 1980's, on average, 50 articles were published per semiconductor patent and 100 articles were published per patent in most other industries. In the late 1980's, only 10 articles were published per semiconductor patent while the number per patent in most other industries remained roughly the same. This is consistent with choice (A) because it suggests that it is more difficult to have an article accepted for publication in the technical literature of the semiconductor industry. However, choice (A) does NOT explain why the number of citations per semiconductor patent declined during the 1980's. Thus, the citations evidence could still support the idea that patent quality declined during the 1980's, and (A) must be eliminated.

However, what if the number of LOW quality semiconductor patents decreased while the number of HIGH quality semiconductor patents remained the same? If "low-quality patents tend to be discussed in the technical literature as frequently as high-quality patents" (choice (E)), this would explain why the number of citations per semiconductor patent would have declined EVEN IF patent quality did not decline. Thus, choice (E) weakens the author's argument and is the correct answer.

Hello GMAT NINJA,

Can you please explain why option B is incorrect. And also please elaborate your explaination for the above if possible.

The author writes:

Though patent quality is a difficult notion to measure, the number of times a patent is cited in the technical literature is a reasonable yardstick, and citations per semiconductor patent did decline during the 1980's.

According to this logic, if the number of times a patent is cited in the technical literature increases, it's reasonable to claim that this patent is of higher quality than a patent which is not cited as many times in the technical literature.

Remember, we're asked which choice most weakens this claim. Any information that makes us doubt the correlation between a higher number of citations and the quality of the patent being cited would do the trick.

However, choice (B) says:

Many of the highest-quality semiconductor patents are cited numerous times in the technical literature.

This actually strengthens the claim, by confirming the link between highest-quality patents and a high number of citations.

That's why we eliminate (B) and keep going.
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The passage makes which of the following claims about patent quality in the semiconductor industry?

(A) It was higher in the early 1980???s than it was a decade later.
(B) It is largely independent of the number of patents granted.
(C) It changed between 1982 and 1992 in ways that were linked to changes in research and development expenditures.
(D) It is not adequately discussed in the industry???s technical literature.
(E) It was measured by inappropriate means during the period from 1982 to 1992.

Hi, Could someone explain the answer to the above question? If the citations per semiconductor(alias for quality according to the passage) declined during the 1980s, how can we infer that the quality was higher than that in 1990? or am I missing out something here?
Answering this question is entirely process of elimination, so let's start with A and make our way down the line.

Quote:
(A) It was higher in the early 1980's than it was a decade later.
The passage tells us that Ziedonis and Hall studied trends in semi-conductor patenting between 1982 (the early 1980's) and 1992 (a decade later). Then, the author writes:

"Moreover, Ziedonis and Hall found that as patenting activity at semiconductor firms increased in the 1980's, the consensus among industry employees was that the average quality of their firms' patents declined."

Between the early 1980's and a decade later, the average quality of firms' semiconductor patents declined. Therefore, patent quality was higher in the early 1980's than it was a decade later. We'll keep (A) as the best choice for now.

I didn't picked up A because of my interpretation.
"Moreover, Ziedonis and Hall found that as patenting activity at semiconductor firms increased in the 1980's, the consensus among industry employees was that the average quality of their firms' patents declined."

because in 1980's, the activity increased, and the average quality of patent also declined in 1980, then I can infer that the quality is lower in 1980's than pre 1980's, but have no idea about the later evade. that's why I picked up D

Originally posted by zoezhuyan on 08 Nov 2019, 07:33.
Last edited by GMATNinjaTwo on 08 Nov 2019, 09:29, edited 1 time in total.
fixed quote formatting
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