Trade Balance of Patent Rights: Who Gains What from International Patent Harmonization, and Why?
The economic implications of international patent harmonization have attracted little empirical scrutiny. Based on patent application and renewal data in major European countries since the early 1980s, this paper examines the empirical relationship between international patenting, R&D, and the "trade flows" of patent rights across national borders. The analysis reveals substantial patent "trade imbalance" among European countries, with size comparable to regular trade balance. Differences among countries' ability in rent appropriation through international patent harmonization are primarily related to their differences in R&D intensity and efficiency, as well as institutional differences in enforcing patent rights.
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