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Financial Patenting in Europe


  • Bronwyn H. Hall
  • Grid Thoma
  • Salvatore Torrisi


We take a first look at financial patents at the European Patent Office (EPO). As is the case at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the number of financial patents in Europe has increased significantly in parallel with significant changes in payment and financial systems. Scholars have argued that financial patents, like other business methods patents, have low value and are owned for strategic reasons rather than for protecting real inventions. We find that established firms in non-financial sectors with diversified patent portfolios own a large share of financial patents at the EPO. However, new specialized technology providers in the financial area also hold a number of such patents. Decisions on the financial patent applications take longer and they are more likely to be refused by the patent office, suggesting greater uncertainty over validity than for other patents. They are also more likely to be opposed, which is consistent with the fact that their other economic value indicators are higher.

Suggested Citation

  • Bronwyn H. Hall & Grid Thoma & Salvatore Torrisi, 2009. "Financial Patenting in Europe," NBER Working Papers 14714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14714
    Note: IO PR

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bronwyn H. Hall, 2009. "Business And Financial Method Patents, Innovation, And Policy," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 56(s1), pages 443-473, September.
    2. repec:bla:stratm:v:38:y:2017:i:4:p:834-853 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Sandner, Philipp G. & Block, Joern, 2011. "The market value of R&D, patents, and trademarks," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 969-985, September.
    4. Torrisi, Salvatore & Gambardella, Alfonso & Giuri, Paola & Harhoff, Dietmar & Hoisl, Karin & Mariani, Myriam, 2016. "Used, blocking and sleeping patents: Empirical evidence from a large-scale inventor survey," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1374-1385.
    5. Cédric Schneider, 2011. "The battle for patent rights in plant biotechnology: evidence from opposition fillings," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 36(5), pages 565-579, October.
    6. Haeussler, Carolin & Harhoff, Dietmar & Mueller, Elisabeth, 2014. "How patenting informs VC investors – The case of biotechnology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(8), pages 1286-1298.
    7. Rentocchini, Francesco, 2011. "Sources and characteristics of software patents in the European Union: Some empirical considerations," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 141-157, March.
    8. Komulainen, Mari & Takalo, Tuomas, 2009. "Does State Street lead to Europe? : The case of financial exchange innovations," Research Discussion Papers 22/2009, Bank of Finland.
    9. Korkeamäki, Timo & Takalo, Tuomas, 2010. "Valuation of innovation: The case of iPhone," MPRA Paper 28042, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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