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Filing strategies and the increasing duration of patent applications

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  • Nicolas van Zeebroeck

Abstract

It has long been implicitly assumed that the roaring backlogs experienced by most patent offices around the world – and harshly criticized by many patentees – are a mere mechanical consequence of surging numbers of patent filings. However, different voices suggest that the patent system may sometimes be gamed by an applicant in order precisely to delay the time when a decision will be taken as to the patentability of his application. By empirically showing the impact of several procedural options chosen by patentees in filing their applications at the EPO, this paper clearly demonstrates that this possibility is real, and probably not anecdotal. Deliberate or not, the main consequence of several procedural options is clearly to delay the grant decision. Why and how firms could win any benefit from such strategies can only be guessed, but whether such behaviours are legitimate or not, socially desirable or not, remains an open question.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2009. "Filing strategies and the increasing duration of patent applications," Working Papers CEB 09-005.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:09-005
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dominique Guellec & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2002. "The Value of Patents and Patenting Strategies: Countries and Technology Areas Patterns," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 133-148.
    2. Régibeau, P & Rockett, K, 2003. "Are More Important Patents Approved More Slowly and Should They Be?," Economics Discussion Papers 2850, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    3. Bruno Pottelsberghe de la Potterie & Nicolas Zeebroeck, 2008. "A brief history of space and time: The scope-year index as a patent value indicator based on families and renewals," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 75(2), pages 319-338, May.
    4. van Zeebroeck, Nicolas & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno & Guellec, Dominique, 2009. "Claiming more: the Increased Voluminosity of Patent Applications and its Determinants," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 1006-1020, July.
    5. Nicolas van Zeebroeck & Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2011. "Filing strategies and patent value," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(6), pages 539-561, February.
    6. Archontopoulos, Eugenio & Guellec, Dominique & Stevnsborg, Niels & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno & van Zeebroeck, Nicolas, 2007. "When small is beautiful: Measuring the evolution and consequences of the voluminosity of patent applications at the EPO," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 103-132, June.
    7. Lazaridis, George & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2007. "The rigour of EPO's patentability criteria: An insight into the "induced withdrawals"," World Patent Information, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 317-326, December.
    8. Harhoff, Dietmar & Wagner, Stefan, 2005. "Modelling the duration of patent examination at the European Patent Office," CEPR Discussion Papers 5283, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Philipp, Minoo, 2006. "Patent filing and searching: Is deflation in quality the inevitable consequence of hyperinflation in quantity?," World Patent Information, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 117-121, June.
    10. Guellec, Dominique & Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno v., 2000. "Applications, grants and the value of patent," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 109-114, October.
    11. repec:spr:scient:v:66:y:2006:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-006-0035-y is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Nicolas van Zeebroeck & Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie & Wook Han, 2006. "Issues in measuring the degree of technological specialisation with patent data," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 66(3), pages 481-492, March.
    13. Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Herman Denis & Dominique Guellec, 2001. "Using patent counts for cross-country comparisons of technology output," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6227, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    14. Deepak Hegde & David C. Mowery & Stuart Graham, 2007. "Pioneers, Submariners, or Thicket-builders: Which Firms Use Continuations in Patenting?," NBER Working Papers 13153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. David Popp & Ted Juhl & Daniel K.N. Johnson, 2003. "Time in Purgatory: Determinants of the Grant Lag for U.S. Patent Applications," NBER Working Papers 9518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1999. "What is behind the recent surge in patenting?1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-22, January.
    17. Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2007. "Patents only live twice: a patent survival analysis in Europe," Working Papers CEB 07-028.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    18. Per Botolf Maurseth, 2005. "Lovely but dangerous: The impact of patent citations on patent renewal," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(5), pages 351-374.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gerald Simons & Paul Isely, 2010. "The effect of offshoring on knowledge flows in the US automobile industry," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(6), pages 553-568.
    2. 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.
    3. Andrew Eckert & Corinne Langinier, 2014. "A Survey Of The Economics Of Patent Systems And Procedures," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(5), pages 996-1015, December.
    4. Frietsch, Rainer & Neuhäusler, Peter & Rothengatter, Oliver, 2013. "SME patenting: An empirical analysis in nine countries," Discussion Papers "Innovation Systems and Policy Analysis" 36, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Patent length; Patent value; Renewals; Backlogs; Survival Time Analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General

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