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Economic Incongruities in the European Patent System

  • Malwina Mejer
  • Bruno Van Pottelsberghe

This paper argues that the consequences of the ‘fragmentation’ of the European patent system are more dramatic than the mere prohibitive costs of maintaining a patent in force in many jurisdictions. First, detailed analysis of judicial systems in several European countries and four case studies provide evidence suggesting that heterogeneous national litigation costs, practices and outcome induce a high level of uncertainty. Second, a high degree of managerial complexity results from systemic incongruities due to easier ‘parallel imports’, possible ‘time paradoxes’ and the de facto paradox of having EU-level competition policy and granting authority ultimately facing national jurisdictional primacy on patent issues. These high degrees of uncertainty and complexity contribute to reduce the effectiveness of the European patent system and provide additional arguments in favour of the Community patent and a centralized litigation in Europe.

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File URL: https://dipot.ulb.ac.be/dspace/bitstream/2013/54115/1/RePEc_eca_wpaper_2009_003.pdf
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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers ECARES with number 2009_003.

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Length: 16 p.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2009_003
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  1. Malwina Mejer & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, 2008. "The London Agreement and the Cost of Patenting in Europe," Working Papers ECARES 2008_032, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2010. "The quality factor in patent systems," CEPR Discussion Papers 7921, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Kyle Margaret, 2011. "Strategic Responses to Parallel Trade," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-34, January.
  4. Graham, Stuart J.H. & Harhoff, Dietmar, 2006. "Can Post-Grant Reviews Improve Patent System Design? A Twin Study of US and European Patents," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 38, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  5. Crampes, Claude & Langinier, Corinne, 2002. "Litigation and Settlement in Patent Infringement Cases," Staff General Research Papers 5231, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  6. Ariel Pakes & Mark Schankerman, 1979. "The Rate of Obsolescence Of Knowledge, Research Gestation Lags, and the Private Rate of Return to Research Resources," NBER Working Papers 0346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Carine Peeters, 2006. "Economic and management perspectives on intellectual property rights," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6185, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. 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.
  9. James E. Bessen & Michael J. Meurer, 2006. "Patent Litigation with Endogenous Disputes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 77-81, May.
  10. Bruno van Pottelsberghe, . "Lost property: The European patent system and why it doesn't work," Blueprints, Bruegel, number 312, 5.
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