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Long Live Patents: the Increasing Life Expectancy of Patent Applications and its Determinants

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  • Nicolas van Zeebroeck

Abstract

Relying on a comprehensive dataset including detailed information on all patent applications filed to the EPO from 1980 to 2000 and on the renewal of those of them that were granted, this paper presents the first survival time analysis of the determinants of patent length. The results are twofold: first, they clearly establish that the life expectancy of patent rights has significantly increased over the past decades despite a small decline in the average grant rate. Second, they show that some filing strategies very strongly influence the overall length of patents, possibly due to induced delays in the examination process. This suggests that such strategies may result in higher and longer lasting legal uncertainty on the markets, with unknown consequences on the dynamic efficiency of the patent system.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Università di Perugia in its journal Review of Economics and Institutions.

Volume (Year): 2 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:pia:review:v:2:y:2011:i:3:n:5

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Keywords: patent length; patent value; renewals; granting process; survival time analysis;

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References

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  1. Dominique Guellec & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2002. "The Value of Patents and Patenting Strategies: Countries and Technology Areas Patterns," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 133-148.
  2. Dietmar Harhoff & Stefan Wagner, 2009. "The Duration of Patent Examination at the European Patent Office," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(12), pages 1969-1984, December.
  3. Guellec, Dominique & Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno v., 2000. "Applications, grants and the value of patent," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 109-114, October.
  4. Eugenio Archontopoulos & Dominique Guellec & Niels Stevnsborg & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2007. "When small is beautiful: measuring the evolution and consequences of the voluminosity of patent applications at the EPO," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6191, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Nicolas van Zeebroeck & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, 2008. "Filing strategies and patent value," Working Papers CEB 08-016.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  6. Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie & Didier François, 2009. "The Cost Factor in Patent Systems," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 329-355, December.
  7. Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2008. "A brief history of space and time: the scope-year index as a patent value indicator based on families and renewals," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6383, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Dominique Guellec, 2007. "The economics of the European patent system: IP policy for innovation and competition," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6183, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  9. Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2011. "The puzzle of patent value indicators," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1), pages 33-62.
  10. Nicolas van Zeebroeck & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Dominique Guellec, 2009. "Claiming more: the increased voluminosity of patent applications and its determinants," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/60726, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  11. Lanjouw, Jean O & Pakes, Ariel & Putnam, Jonathan, 1998. "How to Count Patents and Value Intellectual Property: The Uses of Patent Renewal and Application Data," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 405-32, December.
  12. David Popp & Ted Juhl & Daniel K.N. Johnson, 2003. "Time in Purgatory: Determinants of the Grant Lag for U.S. Patent Applications," NBER Working Papers 9518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Bronwyn H. Hall & Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 2001. "The NBER Patent Citation Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," NBER Working Papers 8498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ariel Pakes & Mark Schankerman, 1979. "The Rate of Obsolescence Of Knowledge, Research Gestation Lags, and the Private Rate of Return to Research Resources," NBER Working Papers 0346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Per Botolf Maurseth, 2005. "Lovely but dangerous: The impact of patent citations on patent renewal," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(5), pages 351-374.
  16. O'DONOGHUE, Ted & SCOTCHMER, Suzanne & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Patent breadth, patent life, and the pace of technological progress," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1314, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  17. Pakes, Ariel S, 1986. "Patents as Options: Some Estimates of the Value of Holding European Patent Stocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 755-84, July.
  18. Nicolas van Zeebroeck & Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2011. "The vulnerability of patent value determinants," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(3), pages 283-308.
  19. P. Regibeau & K. Rockett, 2003. "Are More Important Patents Approved More Slowly and Should They Be?," Economics Discussion Papers 556, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  20. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1999. "What is behind the recent surge in patenting?1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-22, January.
  21. Deng, Yi, 2005. "Renewal Study of European Patents: A Three-country Comparison," Departmental Working Papers 0514, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  22. Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2007. "Patents only live twice: a patent survival analysis in Europe," Working Papers CEB 07-028.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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Cited by:
  1. Danguy Jérôme & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie Bruno, 2011. "Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Community Patent," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-43, April.

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