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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. van Pottelsberghe, Bruno & van Zeebroeck, Nicolas, 2008. "Filing Strategies and Patent Value," CEPR Discussion Papers 6821, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Dominique Guellec, 2000. "Applications grants and the value of patents," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6229, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2007. "A brief history of space and time: the scope-year index as a patent value indicator based on families and renewals," Working Papers CEB 07-019.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. 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.
  5. Régibeau, Pierre & Rockett, Katharine, 2007. "Are More Important Patents Approved More Slowly and Should They Be?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6178, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Hall, B. & Jaffe, A. & Trajtenberg, M., 2001. "The NBER Patent Citations Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," Papers 2001-29, Tel Aviv.
  7. Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2011. "The Puzzle of Patent Value Indicators," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/60729, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. Nicolas van Zeebroeck & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, 2011. "The vulnerability of patent value determinants," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/60730, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Ariel Pakes, 1986. "Patents as Options: Some Estimates of the Value of Holding European Patent Stocks," NBER Working Papers 1340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Guellec, Dominique & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2007. "The Economics of the European Patent System: IP Policy for Innovation and Competition," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199216987.
  14. 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.
  15. Pakes, Ariel & Schankerman, Mark A., 1978. "The Rate of Obsolescence of Knowledge, Research Gestation Labs, and the Private Rate of Return to Research Resources," Working Papers 78-13, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  16. Ted O'Donoghue & Suzanne Scotchmer & Jacques-François Thisse, 1998. "Patent Breadth, Patent Life, and the Pace of Technological Progress," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 1-32, 03.
  17. 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.
  18. Deng, Yi, 2005. "Renewal Study of European Patents: A Three-country Comparison," Departmental Working Papers 0514, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  19. Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Dominique Guellec, 2002. "The value of patents and patenting strategies: countries and technology areas patterns," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6217, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  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. 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.
  22. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Jérôme Danguy & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, 2011. "Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Community Patent," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/101071, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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