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Business Method Patents in Europe and their Strategic Use - Evidence from Franking Device Manufacturers

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  • Wagner, Stefan

Abstract

There has been a wide-spread misconception based on the imprecise wording of Art. 52 of the European Patent Convention (EPC) that the protection of business methods by patents is prohibited in Europe. This paper 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 paper, 1,901 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

Paper provided by University of Munich, Munich School of Management in its series Discussion Papers in Business Administration with number 1265.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:msmdpa:1265

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Keywords: business method patents; European Patent Office;

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References

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  1. Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Dominique Guellec, 2000. "Applications grants and the value of patents," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6229, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Harhoff, Dietmar & Wagner, Stefan, 2006. "Modeling the Duration of Patent Examination at the European Patent Office," Discussion Papers in Business Administration 1256, University of Munich, Munich School of Management.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Vopel, Katrin & Scherer, Frederic M. & Narin, Francis & Harhoff, Dietmar, 1997. "Citation Frequency and the Value of Patented Innovation," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-27, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  7. Bronwyn H. Hall, 2003. "Business Method Patents, Innovation, and Policy," NBER Working Papers 9717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Harhoff, Dietmar & Reitzig, Markus, 2004. "Determinants of opposition against EPO patent grants--the case of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 443-480, April.
  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. Bronwyn H. Hall, 2009. "Business and Financial Method Patents, Innovation, and Policy," NBER Working Papers 14868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Katharine Rockett, 2009. "Property Rights and Invention," Economics Discussion Papers 663, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Thoma, Grid & Torrisi, Salvatore, 2010. "Financial Patenting in Europe," MERIT Working Papers 011, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  6. 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.
  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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