To Promote Innovation: The Proper Balance of Competition and Patent Law and Policy - a Report by the Federal Trade Commission, October 2003

The report stems from hearings that the FTC and the DOJ convened in February 2002. The hearings took place over 24 days and involved more than 300 panelists. The antitrust agencies heard perspectives from business representatives from large and small firms, the independent inventor community, leading patent and antitrust organizations and practitioners, and scholars in economics and patent and antitrust law. Business representatives were mostly from high-tech industries: pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, computer hardware and software, and the Internet. In addition, the FTC received about 100 written submissions.


The EPO Scenarios Project

As part of its efforts to strategically plan for the medium to long term, the EPO launched its EPO Scenarios Project, which has involved interviewing a wide range of important players in the intellectual property world and seeking their opinions on how intellectual property and patenting might evolve over the next twenty years. So far close to 70 interviews have been conducted and can be accessed from this website. Further focused interviews are currently being undertaken as part of the preparation for the project's second publication: "EPO Scenarios for the Future", which will be added at a later stage.

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Enhancing the patent system in Europe - the European Commission’s project to improve the European patent system.

The European Commission has set out its vision, in the form of a Communication, for improving the patent system in Europe and for revitalising the debate on this issue. Making the Community patent a reality and improving the existing patent litigation system should, together with supporting measures, make the patent system more accessible and bring cost savings for all.


Rethinking Patent Law's Uniformity Principle - a paper by Craig Nard and John Duffy

This proposal represents a shift in strategy from one dominated by the pursuit of uniformity, to one where competition and diversity are equally important. As the literature from many other areas suggests, a choice between centralized and decentralized institutions cannot and should not be made with a polar solution. The issue is one of optimization. In 1982 Congress decided that the optimal number of federal appellate courts deciding patent cases was fewer than thirteen; we suggest that the optimal number may also be greater than one.


Harmony and Diversity in Global Patent Law - a paper by John Duffy

This Article, while acknowledging the value of some harmonization of national law, explores the possible costs of the harmonization movement. Patent law itself owes its very birth not to harmony but to diversity of national law. […] This Article concludes that the patent law of the twenty-first century would be enriched if national and international policymakers learn to value variety.


Do Patents Work? - chapters from a forthcoming book by James Bessen and Michael J. Meurer along with supporting working papers.

This book provides an authoritative and comprehensive empirical evaluation of the economic performance of patents in the US. Bessen and Meurer ask whether the patent system works well as a property system, and, if not, what institutional and legal reforms can fix it. Their findings are stark and conclusive. Patents do provide incentives to invest in research, development, and commercialization. In some sectors, such as the pharmaceutical industry, these benefits outweigh the costs. However, for most firms today, patents fail as a property system; they generate costly disputes and litigation that outweigh the positive incentives. This is because patents today often fail to grant well-defined property rights.


Patents and Diversity in Innovation - Sept. 2006 conference

The current debate over patent reform exposes critical differences in the way that patents are used and viewed in different sectors – especially in the difference between discrete product technologies (pharmaceuticals) and complex product technologies (IT) The present “unitary” patent system is limited in its ability to account for such differences. Yet as the patent system expands in scope and significance, with many billions of dollars at stake, the assumption that one size fits all appears increasingly untenable and costly. This international conference examines the differences among innovation environments, how they are currently addressed, implications of uniform vs. differentiated treatment, and options for optimizing the functioning of the patent system across fields and environments.

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The Market for Patents in Europe - a paper by Alfonso Gambardella, Paola Giuri and Alessandra Luzzi

By using the PatVal-EU dataset this paper finds that the most important determinant of patent licensing is firm size. Patent breadth, value, protection, and other factors suggested by the literature also have an impact, but not as important. In addition, most of these factors affect the willingness to license, but not whether a license actually takes place. We discuss why this suggests that there are transaction costs in the markets for technology. The issue is important because many potential licenses are not licensed suggesting that the markets for technology can be larger, with implied economic benefits.


Everything you Always Wanted to Know About Inventors (but Never Asked): Evidence from the PatVal-EU Survey - a paper by Paola Giuri, Myriam Mariani et al.

Based on a survey of the inventors of 9,017 European patented inventions, this paper provides new information about the characteristics of European inventors, the sources of their knowledge, the importance of formal and informal collaborations, the motivations to invent, and the actual use and economic value of the patents.


The market value of patents and R&D: Evidence from European firms a paper by Bronwyn H. Hall, Grid Thoma and Salvatore Torrisi

This paper provides novel empirical evidence on the private value of patents and R&D. We analyze an unbalanced sample of firms from five EU countries - France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and the UK in the period 1985-2005. We explore the relationship between firm’s stock market value and patents, accounting for the ‘quality’ of EPO patents. We find that Tobin’s q is positively and significantly associated with R&D and patent stocks. In contrast to results for the U.S., forward citations do not add information beyond that in patents. However, the composite quality indicator based on backward citations, forward citations and the number of technical fields covered by the patent is informative for value. Software patents account for a rising share of total patents in the EPO. Moreover, some scholars of innovation and intellectual property rights argue that software and business methods patents on average are of poor quality and that these patents are applied for merely to build portfolios rather than for protection of real inventions. We therefore tested for the impact of software patents on the market value of the firm and did not find any significant effect, in contrast to results for the United States. However, in Europe, such patents are highly concentrated, with 90 per cent of the software patents in our sample held by just 15 of the firms.


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