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Business Method Patents In Europe And Their Strategic Use—Evidence From Franking Device Manufacturers

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  • Stefan Wagner

Abstract

There has been a wide-spread misconception based on the imprecise wording of Art. 52 of the European Patent Convention that the protection of business methods by patents is prohibited in Europe. This article investigates the legal framework set by patent laws with respect to the patentability of business methods, contrasting the situation in lege in Europe and the situation in the US. It is shown that in praxi business methods have never been excluded from patentability in Europe. In the empirical part of the article, 1901 European patent applications relating to business methods are identified and major patent indicators are computed. Further, a case study from the franking device industry which is characterized by strong competition for intellectual property rights is conducted. It contains evidence for the strategic use of business method patents leading to opposition rates against granted patents of 44%.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Economics of Innovation and New Technology.

Volume (Year): 17 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 173-194

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Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:17:y:2008:i:3:p:173-194

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Related research

Keywords: Business method patents; Patent opposition; EPO; Franking device manufacturers;

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References

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  1. Harhoff, Dietmar & Reitzig, Markus, 2002. "Determinants of Opposition Against EPO Patent Grants - The Case of Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals," CEPR Discussion Papers 3645, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Harhoff, Dietmar & Wagner, Stefan, 2005. "Modelling the duration of patent examination at the European Patent Office," CEPR Discussion Papers 5283, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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. Griliches, Zvi, 1990. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  5. Dietmar Harhoff & Francis Narin & Frederic M. Scherer & Katrin Vopel, 1997. "Citation Frequency and the Value of Patented Innovation," CIG Working Papers FS IV 97-26, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  6. Hall, Bronwyn H., 2003. "Business Method Patents, Innovation, and Policy," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt66w6p7qz, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  7. Lanjouw, Jean O & Schankerman, Mark, 2001. "Characteristics of Patent Litigation: A Window on Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 129-51, Spring.
  8. Harhoff, Dietmar & Scherer, Frederic M. & Vopel, Katrin, 2003. "Citations, family size, opposition and the value of patent rights," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1343-1363, September.
  9. Lerner, Josh, 1995. "Patenting in the Shadow of Competitors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 463-95, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rentocchini, Francesco, 2011. "Sources and characteristics of software patents in the European Union: Some empirical considerations," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 141-157, March.
  2. Desyllas, Panos & Sako, Mari, 2013. "Profiting from business model innovation: Evidence from Pay-As-You-Drive auto insurance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 101-116.
  3. Katharine Rockett, 2009. "Property Rights and Invention," Economics Discussion Papers 663, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  4. Bronwyn H. Hall, 2009. "Business and Financial Method Patents, Innovation, and Policy," NBER Working Papers 14868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bruno Rossignoli & Francesca Arnaboldi, 2009. "Financial innovation: theoretical issues and empirical evidence in Italy and in the UK," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 56(3), pages 275-301, September.
  6. Bronwyn H. Hall & Grid Thoma & Salvatore Torrisi, 2009. "Financial Patenting in Europe," NBER Working Papers 14714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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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