The impact of including standards-related documentation in patent prior art: evidence from an EPO policy change

Rudi N.A. Bekkers (Corresponding author), Arianna Martinelli, Federico Tamagni

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Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104007
Number of pages17
JournalResearch Policy
Volume49
Issue number7
Early online date23 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Quality of patent process
  • Technological standards
  • Policy evaluation
  • Diff-in-diff-in-diff estimation
  • Patent scope

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