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The Role of Fees in Patent Systems: Theory and Evidence

  • Gaétan de Rassenfosse
  • Bruno Van Pottelsberghe

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 ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers ECARES with number ECARES 2010-023.

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Length: 27 p.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/57652
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  1. de Rassenfosse, Gaétan & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2007. "Per un Pugno di Dollari: A first Look at the Price Elasticity of Patents," CEPR Discussion Papers 6499, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Didier François, 2009. "The cost factor in patent systems," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/13422, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Dietmar Harhoff & Karin Hoisl & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, 2009. "Languages, Fees and the International Scope of Patenting," Working Papers ECARES 2009_016, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Robert M. Hunt, 2006. "When Do More Patents Reduce R&D?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 87-91, May.
  5. 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.
  6. Richard Gilbert and Carl Shapiro., 1989. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," Economics Working Papers 89-102, University of California at Berkeley.
  7. de Rassenfosse, Gaetan & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2009. "A policy insight into the R&D-patent relationship," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 779-792, June.
  8. Mejer, Malwina & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2008. "The London Agreement and the Cost of Patenting in Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 7033, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Palangkaraya, Alfons & Jensen, Paul H. & Webster, Elizabeth, 2008. "Applicant behaviour in patent examination request lags," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 243-245, December.
  10. Edwin Mansfield, 1986. "Patents and Innovation: An Empirical Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(2), pages 173-181, February.
  11. Paroma Sanyal, 2003. "Understanding patents: The role Of R&D funding sources and the patent office," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(6), pages 507-529.
  12. Marc Baudry & Béatrice Dumont, 2009. "A Bayesian Real Option Approach to Patents and Optimal Renewal Fees," Working Papers hal-00419330, HAL.
  13. Bruno van Pottelsberghe & Jérôme Danguy, 2009. "Cost Benefit Analysis of the Community Patent," Working Papers 366, Bruegel.
  14. Nancy T. Gallini, 1992. "Patent Policy and Costly Imitation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(1), pages 52-63, Spring.
  15. Gaétan de Rassenfosse & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, 2008. "On the price elasticity of demand for patents," Working Papers CEB 08-031.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  16. George Lazaridis & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, 2007. "The rigour of EPO's patentability criteria: An insight into the "induced withdrawals"," Working Papers CEB 07-007.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  17. Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2011. "The quality factor in patent systems," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(6), pages 1755-1793, December.
  18. Eugenio Archontopoulos & Dominique Guellec & Niels Stevnsborg & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2007. "When small is beautiful: measuring the evolution and consequences of the voluminosity of patent applications at the EPO," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6191, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  19. Lemley, Mark, 2000. "Rational Ignorance at the Patent Office," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt1tc166q2, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  20. Masaaki Kotabe, 1992. "A Comparative Study of U.S. and Japanese Patent Systems," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 23(1), pages 147-168, March.
  21. Samuel Kortum & Jonathan Eaton, 1995. "Trade in ideas: patenting and productivity in the OECD," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-9, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  22. Gans Joshua S & King Stephen P & Lampe Ryan, 2004. "Patent Renewal Fees and Self-Funding Patent Offices," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-15, July.
  23. Deng, Yi, 2007. "Private value of European patents," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1785-1812, October.
  24. Schankerman, Mark & Pakes, Ariel, 1986. "Estimates of the Value of Patent Rights in European Countries during the Post-1950 Period," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(384), pages 1052-76, December.
  25. Christine MacLeod & Jennifer Tann & James Andrew & Jeremy Stein, 2003. "Evaluating inventive activity: the cost of nineteenth-century UK patents and the fallibility of renewal data," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 56(3), pages 537-562, 08.
  26. repec:adr:anecst:y:1998:i:49-50:p:12 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
  29. Arundel, Anthony & Kabla, Isabelle, 1998. "What percentage of innovations are patented? empirical estimates for European firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 127-141, June.
  30. repec:adr:anecst:y:1998:i:49-50:p:11 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. Adams, Kay & Kim, Douglas & Joutz, Frederick L. & Trost, Robert P. & Mastrogianis, Gus, 1997. "Modeling and forecasting U.S. Patent application filings," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 491-535, October.
  32. Carine Peeters & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, 2006. "Innovation strategy and the patenting behavior of firms," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/167553, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  33. Deng, Yi, 2005. "Private Value of European Patents," Departmental Working Papers 0513, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  34. Petra Moser, 2007. "Why Don't Inventors Patent?," NBER Working Papers 13294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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