The Economics of Pending Patents

25 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2011

See all articles by Johannes Koenen

Johannes Koenen

ARC Econ GmbH

Martin Peitz

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 30, 2011


We provide a treatment of a number of questions pertaining to pending patents – a subject that has so-far mainly been discussed en-passant in the existing literature. We present the underlying institutional and legal framework that governs pending patents and some basic facts related to them. Then, we focus on the strategic considerations of firms in the earliest stage of the patenting process and the interplay with the patent office. This is followed by considering the perspective of the patent and trademark offices (PTOs), in particular, acknowledging the limited resources that are available to PTOs. Finally, we investigate the potential abuse of pending patents and the role of reputation of patenting firms.

Keywords: patenting, pending patents, innovation, patent office overload, patent inspection, grant delays

JEL Classification: L240

Suggested Citation

Koenen, Johannes and Peitz, Martin, The Economics of Pending Patents (November 30, 2011). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3657, Available at SSRN:

Johannes Koenen

ARC Econ GmbH ( email )

Berliner Platz 13
Limburgerhof, 67117


Martin Peitz (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
+49 621 181-1835 (Phone)


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