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Post-Issue Patent "Quality Control": A Comparative Study of US Patent Re-examinations and European Patent Oppositions

  • Stuart J. H. Graham

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Bronwyn H. Hall

    (University of California, Berkeley & NBER)

  • Dietmar Harhoff

    (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München & CEPR)

  • David C. Mowery

    (University of California, Berkeley & NBER)

We report the results of the first comparative study of the determinants and effects of patent oppositions in Europe and of re- examinations on corresponding patents issued in the United States. The analysis is based on a dataset consisting of matched EPO and US patents. Our analysis focuses on two broad technology categories - biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, and semiconductors and computer software. Within these fields, we collect data on all EPO patents for which oppositions were filed at the EPO. We also construct a random sample of EPO patents with no opposition in these technologies. We match these EPO patents with the “equivalent” US patents covering the same invention in the United States. Using the matched sample of USPTO and EPO patents, we compare the determinants of opposition and of reexamination. Our results indicate that valuable patents are more likely to be challenged in both jurisdictions. But the rate of opposition at the EPO is more than thirty times higher than the rate of reexamination at the USPTO.

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File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/io/papers/0303/0303009.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Industrial Organization with number 0303009.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 19 Mar 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0303009
Note: 46 pages, Acrobat .pdf
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Jean O. Lanjouw & Josh Lerner, 1997. "The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: A Survey of the Empirical Literature," NBER Working Papers 6296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Robert M. Hunt, 2001. "You can patent that? Are patents on computer programs and business methods good for the new economy?," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Q1, pages 5-15.
  3. Teece, David J., 1993. "Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 112-113, April.
  4. Samuel Kortum & Josh Lerner, 1997. "Stronger Protection or Technological Revolution: What is Behind the Recent Surge in Patenting?," NBER Working Papers 6204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1999. "What is behind the recent surge in patenting?1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-22, January.
  7. Harhoff, Dietmar & Reitzig, Markus, 2002. "Determinants of Opposition Against EPO Patent Grants - The Case of Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals," CEPR Discussion Papers 3645, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Ashish Arora, 1995. "Licensing Tacit Knowledge: Intellectual Property Rights And The Market For Know-How," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 41-60.
  9. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  10. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
  11. George L. Priest & Benjamin Klein, 1984. "The Selection of Disputes for Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 1-56, January.
  12. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521642545 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. F. M. Scherer, 1965. "Corporate Inventive Output, Profits, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73, pages 290.
  14. Jean O. Lanjouw & Josh Lerner, 1996. "Preliminary Injunctive Relief: Theory and Evidence from Patent Litigation," NBER Working Papers 5689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521645201 is not listed on IDEAS
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