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Sources and characteristics of software patents in the European Union: some empirical considerations

  • Francesco Rentocchini

This work provides a deeper account of an increasing phenomenon characterising the European Union in recent years, i.e. software patenting. To this purpose we present a novel database of software patents providing a reliability check. According to that, more than 30 000 software patents have been granted so far to both European and Non-European companies. We investigate the relevant factors explaining firm-level software patenting at the EPO. Software patents are mainly applied by American and Japanese firms, are characterised by an higher average length of the granting procedure and firms belonging to the software sector do not apply for them. Finally, results from non-linear panel data estimation reveal that patents are not deemed as useful appropriability instruments by software firms and that a threat effect by hardware firms is growing in importance. This last result is in line with recent developments of the literature relative to strategic patenting.

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Paper provided by Public policies and local development in its series Openloc Working Papers with number 1022.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpol:1022
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