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Patent inflation in Europe

  • van Zeebroeck, N.
  • Stevnsborg, N.
  • van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, B.
  • Guellec, D.
  • Archontopoulos, E.

Patent filings worldwide have been subject to a combined growth in terms of the number of applications filed and their size. This is putting patent systems under tremendous pressure, as witnessed by the evolution of backlogs at several patent offices. The present article presents an analysis of the evolution in patent voluminosity observed at the European Patent Office (EPO) over the past two decades. The results demonstrate that the average size of applications has doubled during this period and that the largest influence comes from applications filed via the PCT route and/or with a US priority application. Voluminosity indicators are clearly influenced by geographical origins and technological areas. The increasing voluminosity has a significant impact on EPO workload and processing efficiency. There is therefore a justified need for regulatory action. Evidence from recent changes in US patent fee policy is shown to have a significant knock-off effect on voluminosity indicators.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Patent Information.

Volume (Year): 30 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 43-52

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Handle: RePEc:eee:worpat:v:30:y:2008:i:1:p:43-52
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