Is the patent system a level playing field? The effect of patent attorney firms

30 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2018 Last revised: 24 Nov 2021

See all articles by Gaétan de Rassenfosse

Gaétan de Rassenfosse

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Paul H. Jensen

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

T'Mir Julius

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research

Alfons Palangkaraya

Swinburne University of Technology

Elizabeth Webster

Swinburne University of Technology; University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research

Date Written: November 1, 2021

Abstract

The patent system underpins the business model of some of the fastest-growing companies. Used appropriately, it should support frontier technologies and nurture new firms. Used perniciously, it can stifle innovation and protect established technological behemoths. We analyse patent examination decisions at the American, European, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese patent offices and find evidence that patent attorney firms have a surprisingly large role in the patent system. Patent attorney firm quality is most important, vis-à-vis invention quality, in less codified and more rapidly changing technology areas such as software and ICT. Moreover, patent attorney firm quality matters more when invention quality is low. Finally, there is a significant inter-patent office variation, with a greater patent attorney firm quality effect at the USPTO.

Keywords: appropriation, innovation, patent attorney firm, patent system

Suggested Citation

de Rassenfosse, Gaétan and Jensen, Paul H. and Julius, T'Mir and Palangkaraya, Alfons and Webster, Elizabeth M., Is the patent system a level playing field? The effect of patent attorney firms (November 1, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3254958 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3254958

Gaétan De Rassenfosse (Contact Author)

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne ( email )

Station 5
Odyssea 1.04
1015 Lausanne, CH-1015
Switzerland

Paul H. Jensen

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

T'Mir Julius

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Alfons Palangkaraya

Swinburne University of Technology ( email )

Cnr Wakefield and William Streets, Hawthorn Victor
3122 Victoria, Victoria 3122
Australia

Elizabeth M. Webster

Swinburne University of Technology ( email )

Cnr Wakefield and William Streets, Hawthorn Victor
3122 Victoria, Victoria 3122
Australia

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

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