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The disciplinary effect of post-grant review – Causal evidence from European patent opposition

Markus Nagler and Stefan Sorg

Research Policy, 2020, vol. 49, issue 3

Abstract: We study the causal impact of invalidating marginally valid patents during post-grant opposition at the European Patent Office on affected inventors’ subsequent patenting. We exploit exogenous variation in invalidation by leveraging the participation of a patent’s original examiner in the opposition division as an instrument. We find a disciplinary effect of invalidation: Affected inventors file significantly fewer patent applications in the decade after the decision. The effect is entirely driven by a reduction in low-quality filings, i.e., filings that examiners associate with prior art that threatens the application’s novelty or inventive step. We do not observe shifts into national patenting.

Keywords: Inventors; Marginal patents; Patent invalidation; Patent opposition; Post-grant review; EPO; Innovation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O31 O34 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2019.103915

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