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Journal Article

Patent Quality and Examination in Europe


Harhoff,  Dietmar
MPI for Innovation and Competition, Max Planck Society;

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Harhoff, D. (2016). Patent Quality and Examination in Europe. American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, 106(5), 193-197. doi:10.1257/aer.p20161093.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-4C1B-E
This paper reports on effects of recent administrative reforms at the European Patent Office (EPO). In EPO-granted patents, claims numbers started to decline in 2008 when new claims fees became effective, claims sections in patents became shorter, and independent claims longer and presumably more specific. The grant rate remained at relatively low levels, but the EPO was unable to stem the use of divisional filings. The developments at the EPO point to a high private value of delay options. Delay may be achieved either by making use of explicit statutory rules or by other means, such as filing divisional applications.