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Patent Office Governance and Patent System Quality

  • Pierre M. Picard


    (CREA, University of Luxembourg (Luxembourg), and CORE, Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium).)

  • Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie


    (Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), SBS-EM, ECARES, CEB, DULBEA, CEPR and Bruegel)

The present paper discusses the role of quality in patent systems from the perspective of patent offices' behavior and organization. After documenting original stylized facts, the paper presents a model in which patent offices set patent fees and the quality level of their examination processes. Various objectives of patent offices' governors are considered. We show that the quality of the patent system is maximal for the patent offices that maximises either the social welfare or its own proffit. Quality is lower for the self-funded patent office maximizing the number of patent applications and even smaller for the self-funded patent office maximizing the number of granted patents. A labor union improves examination quality and may compensate for the potentialy inappropriate objectives of patent office management.

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Paper provided by Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg in its series CREA Discussion Paper Series with number 11-06.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:luc:wpaper:11-06
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  1. 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.
  2. Bruno van Pottelsberghe, 2010. "The quality factor in patent systems," Working Papers 422, Bruegel.
  3. Nancy T. Gallini, 1992. "Patent Policy and Costly Imitation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(1), pages 52-63, Spring.
  4. Joseph Farrell & Carl Shapiro, 2008. "How Strong Are Weak Patents?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1347-69, September.
  5. Danguy, Jérôme & de Rassenfosse, Gaétan & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2010. "The R&D-patent relationship: An industry perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 8145, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Gaetan de Rassenfosse & Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2012. "On the Price Elasticity of Demand for Patents," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 74(1), pages 58-77, 02.
  7. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Legros, 2013. "'Essential' patents, FRAND royalties and technological standards," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/168609, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. Langinier, Corinne & Marcoul, Philippe, 2007. "Patents, Search of Prior Art, and Revelation of Information," Staff General Research Papers 10489, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. Scherer, F M, 1972. "Nordhaus' Theory of Optimal Patent Life: A Geometric Reinterpretation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(3), pages 422-27, June.
  11. de Rassenfosse, Gaétan & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2010. "The role of fees in patent systems: Theory and evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 7879, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Richard Gilbert and Carl Shapiro., 1989. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," Economics Working Papers 89-102, University of California at Berkeley.
  13. Duranton, Gilles & Martin, Philippe & Mayer, Thierry & Mayneris, Florian, 2010. "The Economics of Clusters: Lessons from the French Experience," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199592203.
  14. Guellec, Dominique & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2007. "The Economics of the European Patent System: IP Policy for Innovation and Competition," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199216987.
  15. 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.
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