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Patent Office in innovation policy: Nobody's perfect

  • Bernard Caillaud

    (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris)

  • Anne Duchene

    (Bennett S. LeBow College of Business - Department of Economics and International Business - Drexel University)

The number of patent applications and "bad" patents issued has been rising rapidly in recent years. Based on this trend, we study the overload problem within the Patent Office and its consequences on the firms' R&D incentives. We assume that the examination process of patent applications is imperfect, and that its quality is poorer under congestion. Depend- ing on policy instruments such as submission fees and the toughness of the non-obviousness requirement, the system may result in a high-R&D equilibrium, in which firms self-select in their patent applications, or in an equilibrium with low R&D, opportunistic patent applications and the issuance of bad patents. Multiple equilibria often coexist, which deeply undermines the effectiveness of policy instruments. We investigate the robustness of our conclusions as to how the value of patent protection is formalized, taking into consideration the introduction of a penalty system for rejected patent applications, as well as the role of commitment to a given IP protection policy.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00575019
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