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Modeling the Duration of Patent Examination at the European Patent Office

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  • Harhoff, Dietmar
  • Wagner, Stefan

Abstract

We analyze the duration of the patent examination process at the European Patent Office (EPO). Our data contain information related to the patent’s economic and technical relevance, EPO capacity and workload as well as novel citation measures which are derived from the EPO’s search reports. In our multivariate analysis we estimate competing risk specifications in order to characterize differences in the processes leading to a withdrawal of the application by the applicant, a refusal of the patent grant by the examiner or an actual patent grant. Highly cited applications are approved faster by the EPO than less important ones, but they are also withdrawn less quickly by the applicant. The process duration increases for all outcomes with the application’s complexity, originality, number of references (backward citations) in the search report and with the EPO’s workload at the filing date. Endogenous applicant behavior becomes apparent in other results: more controversial claims lead to slower grants, but faster withdrawals, while relatively well-documented applications (identified by a high share of applicant references appearing in the search report) are approved faster and take longer to be withdrawn.

Suggested Citation

  • Harhoff, Dietmar & Wagner, Stefan, 2006. "Modeling the Duration of Patent Examination at the European Patent Office," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 170, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:170
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1989. "Noncooperative game theory for industrial organization: An introduction and overview," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 259-327, Elsevier.
    3. 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.
    4. Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson & Adam Jaffe, 1997. "University Versus Corporate Patents: A Window On The Basicness Of Invention," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 19-50.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    patents; patent examination; survival analysis; patent citations; European Patent Office;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • 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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