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

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  • Stefan Wagner

    (LMU München)

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 Europe and the situation in the US. It is shown that in praxi business methods have never been excluded from patentability in Europe. Further, 1,901 European patent applications relating to business methods are found by identifying European equivalents to granted USPTO patents filed in US Class 705 (i.e. business method patents). The computation of major patent indicators reveals that European applications for business method patents differ from the average of all EPO patent applications with respect to the number of claims, the number of references made and the frequency of legal actions against granted patents. Additionally, a case study from the franking device industry gives evidence of the strategic use of business method patents leading to comparably high opposition rates against 44% of all granted patents.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Law and Economics with number 0410003.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: 18 Oct 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwple:0410003

Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 48
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  1. Bronwyn H. Hall, 2004. "Business Method Patents, Innovation, and Policy," Law and Economics 0401001, EconWPA.
  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. 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.
  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. Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Dominique Guellec, 2000. "Applications grants and the value of patents," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6229, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  6. 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).
  7. 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.
  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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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Bronwyn H. Hall, 2009. "Business and Financial Method Patents, Innovation, and Policy," NBER Working Papers 14868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  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. 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.
  7. Katharine Rockett, 2009. "Property Rights and Invention," Economics Discussion Papers 663, University of Essex, Department of Economics.

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