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The Quality Factor in Patent Systems

Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie

No ECARES 2010-027, Working Papers ECARES from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: This paper develops a methodology to compare the quality of examination services across patent offices. Quality is defined as the extent to which patent offices comply with their patentability conditions in a transparent way. The methodology consists of a two-layer analytical framework encompassing “legal standards” and their “operational design”, which includes several interdependent components that affect the stringency and transparency of the filtering process. The comparison of patent offices in Europe (EPO), Japan (JPO) and the US (USPTO) shows that their operational designs differ substantially: the EPO provides higher-quality and more expensive services than the USPTO, while the JPO is in an intermediate position. These results illustrate that different system designs lead to different outcomes in term of backlogs, patent propensity and the number of dubious patent rights in force. In this respect, they: 1) provide an empirical validation of Jaffe and Lerner's (2004) conjecture of a vicious cycle between quality of examinations and demand for patents; and 2) highlight the need for a multi-faceted convergence of patent systems before mutual recognition is put in place.

Keywords: patent system; quality; patent propensity; intellectual property (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O30 O31 O34 O38 O57 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ind, nep-ino and nep-ipr
Date: 2010-07
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Related works:
Journal Article: The quality factor in patent systems (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: The quality factor in patent systems (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: The quality factor in patent systems (2010) Downloads
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