Filing strategies and the increasing duration of patent applications
Nicolas van Zeebroeck
It has long been implicitly assumed that the roaring backlogs experienced by most patent offices around the world – and harshly criticized by many patentees – are a mere mechanical consequence of surging numbers of patent filings. However, different voices suggest that the patent system may sometimes be gamed by an applicant in order precisely to delay the time when a decision will be taken as to the patentability of his application. By empirically showing the impact of several procedural options chosen by patentees in filing their applications at the EPO, this paper clearly demonstrates that this possibility is real, and probably not anecdotal. Deliberate or not, the main consequence of several procedural options is clearly to delay the grant decision. Why and how firms could win any benefit from such strategies can only be guessed, but whether such behaviours are legitimate or not, socially desirable or not, remains an open question.
Patent length, Patent value, Renewals, Backlogs, Survival Time Analysis
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