Which Patent Systems are Better for Inventors?

36 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2014

See all articles by James E. Bessen

James E. Bessen

Technology & Policy Research Initiative, BU School of Law

Grid Thoma

University of Camerino

Date Written: September 17, 2014

Abstract

International comparisons of patent systems are essential to harmonization treaties and to analyze economic growth. Yet these comparisons often rely on little but conventional wisdom. This paper develops an empirical method to compare the economic strength and quality of patent systems by using renewal analysis of matched patents in different countries (same patent family). Comparing patents on the same inventions filed at the EPO for Germany and in the US, we find that the German patents generate substantially greater market power than their US equivalents, especially for small inventors. Also, the average US patent has relatively lower economic value (“quality”).

Keywords: patents, international treaties, technological change

JEL Classification: O34, F42, K19

Suggested Citation

Bessen, James E. and Thoma, Grid, Which Patent Systems are Better for Inventors? (September 17, 2014). Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 14-50. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2497495 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2497495

James E. Bessen (Contact Author)

Technology & Policy Research Initiative, BU School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Grid Thoma

University of Camerino ( email )

School of Sciences and Technology
Computer Science Division
Camerino, Macerata 62032
Italy

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