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The role of fees in patent systems: Theory and evidence

  • de Rassenfosse, Gaétan
  • van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno

This paper reviews the economic literature on the role of fees in patent systems. Two main research questions are usually addressed: the impact of patent fees on the behavior of applicants and the question of optimal fees. Studies in the former group confirm that a range of fees affect the behavior of applicants and suggest that a patent is an inelastic good. Studies in the latter group provide grounds for both low and high application (or pre-grant) fees and renewal (or post-grant) fees, depending on the structural context and on the policy objectives. The paper also presents new stylized facts on patent fees of thirty patent offices worldwide. It is shown that application fees are generally lower than renewal fees, and renewal fees increase more than proportionally with patent age (to the notable exception of Switzerland and the U.S.).

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7879.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7879
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  1. Nancy T. Gallini, 1992. "Patent Policy and Costly Imitation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(1), pages 52-63, Spring.
  2. Harhoff, Dietmar & Hoisl, Karin & Reichl, Bettina & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2009. "Patent validation at the country level--The role of fees and translation costs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1423-1437, November.
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  4. Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1990. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 106-112, Spring.
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  6. Lazaridis, George & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2007. "The rigour of EPO's patentability criteria: An insight into the "induced withdrawals"," World Patent Information, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 317-326, December.
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  11. Archontopoulos, Eugenio & Guellec, Dominique & Stevnsborg, Niels & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno & van Zeebroeck, Nicolas, 2006. "When Small is Beautiful: Measuring the Evolution and Consequences of the Voluminosity of Patent Applications at the EPO," CEPR Discussion Papers 5970, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Harhoff, Dietmar & Hoisl, Karin & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno & Vandeput, Charlotte, 2015. "Languages, Fees and the International Scope of Patenting," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 511, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
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