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Global Patent Systems: Revisiting the National Bias Hypothesis

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  • Elise Petit
  • Bruno Van Pottelsberghe
  • Lluís Gimeno Fabra

Abstract

This paper revisits the literature providing empirical evidence that patent offices are biased in favour of their national applicants. If true, this “national bias” would be proof of disrespect of several international patent-related treaties. Existing investigations are however subject to an important limitation: they focus only on grant rates – a potentially biased indicator of stringency, since it is influenced by economic forces. It is argued that including a deeper analysis of how the patent examination process is carried out provides a more robust approach. Relying on a unique database of 2400 patent families filed simultaneously in three patent offices (EPO, JPO & USPTO), the paper finds no evidence of national bias throughout the examination process of any of them.

Suggested Citation

  • Elise Petit & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Lluís Gimeno Fabra, 2021. "Global Patent Systems: Revisiting the National Bias Hypothesis," Working Papers ECARES 2021-17, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/330840
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Gaétan de Rassenfosse & Emilio Raiteri, 2022. "Technology Protectionism and the Patent System: Evidence from China," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 1-43, March.
    3. Danguy Jérôme & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie Bruno, 2011. "Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Community Patent," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-43, April.
    4. Lluís Gimeno-Fabra & Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2021. "Decoding patent examination services," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(7), pages 707-730, October.
    5. Masaaki Kotabe, 1992. "A Comparative Study of U.S. and Japanese Patent Systems," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 23(1), pages 147-168, March.
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    9. de Saint-Georges, Matthis & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2013. "A quality index for patent systems," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 704-719.
    10. Elise Petit & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Lluís Gimeno Fabra, 2021. "Are Patent Offices Substitutes ?," iCite Working Papers 2021-049, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    11. de Rassenfosse, Gaétan & Dernis, Hélène & Guellec, Dominique & Picci, Lucio & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2013. "The worldwide count of priority patents: A new indicator of inventive activity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 720-737.
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    1. Elise Petit & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Lluís Gimeno Fabra, 2021. "Are Patent Offices Substitutes ?," iCite Working Papers 2021-049, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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    Keywords

    Patent systems; TRIPs; national bias; examination; international comparison;
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