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Can Post-Grant Reviews Improve Patent System Design? A Twin Study of US and European Patents

  • Graham, Stuart J.H.
  • Harhoff, Dietmar

This paper assesses the impact of adopting a post-grant review institution in the US patent system by comparing the “opposition careers” of European Patent Office (EPO) equivalents of litigated US patents to those of a control group of EPO patents. We demonstrate several novel methods of "twinning" US and European patents and investigate the implications of employing these different methods in our data analysis. We find that EPO equivalents of US litigated patent applications are more likely to be awarded EPO patent protection than are equivalents of unlitigated patents, and the opposition rate for EPO equivalents of US litigated patents is about three times higher than for equivalents of unlitigated patents. Patents attacked under European opposition are shown to be either revoked completely or narrowed in about 70 percent of all cases. For EPO equivalents of US litigated patents, the appeal rate against opposition outcomes is considerably higher than for control-group patents. Based on our estimates, we calculate a range of net welfare benefits that would accrue from adopting a post-grant review system. Our results provide strong evidence that the United States could benefit substantially from adopting an administrative post-grant patent review, provided that the post-grant mechanism is not too costly.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5680.

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Date of creation: May 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5680
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  1. Graham, Stuart J. H. & Hall, Bronwyn H. & Harhoff, Dietmar & Mowery, David C., 2002. "Post-Issue Patent "Quality Control": A Comparative Study of US Patent Re-Examinations and European Patent Oppositions," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt2qt097bd, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Graham, Stuart J. H. & Harhoff, Dietmar & Mowery, David C., 2003. "Prospects for Improving U.S. Patent Quality via Post-grant Opposition," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8fg5b6bs, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Paul H. Jensen & Alfons Palangkaraya & Elizabeth Webster, 2005. "Patent Application Outcomes across the Trilateral Patent Offices," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2005n05, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  4. Lanjouw, Jean O & Schankerman, Mark, 2001. "Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights," CEPR Discussion Papers 3093, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Jonathan Levin & Richard Levin, . "Patent Oppositions," Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy Working Paper Series yale_lepp-1005, Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy.
  6. Jean Olson Lanjouw & Mark Schankerman, 2001. "Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights," NBER Working Papers 8656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hall, B. & Jaffe, A. & Trajtenberg, M., 2001. "The NBER Patent Citations Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," Papers 2001-29, Tel Aviv.
  8. Lemley, Mark A. & Shapiro, Carl, 2004. "Probabilistic Patents," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt9xf1488p, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Jean Olson Lanjouw & Mark Schankerman, 2001. "Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights," STICERD - Economics of Industry Papers 30, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
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