The Impact of Including Standards-Related Documentation in Patent Prior Art: Evidence from an EPO Policy Change
17 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2020
Date Written: June 23, 2020
It is crucial that patent offices grant protection only to those inventions that are novel and non-obvious. In 2004, the European Patent Office (EPO) made the unique move to systematically extend its prior art database by including documents shared among members of standard-setting organisations, but not made available to the general audience. This paper investigates the effects of this policy change. We find that it worked thanks to a significant reduction in granting rates rather than reducing the scope of granted patents. Our study demonstrates how a targeted approach can improve the quality of the patent granting process.
Keywords: Quality of patent process, Technological standards, Policy evaluation, Diff-in-diff-in-diff estimation, Patent scope
JEL Classification: O30, O34, O32, L15, C21
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