Patenting Processes in Europe and the Unitary Patent

Papers and Contributors:

  1. The Effect of Time Pressure on Real Effort Investment Under Ambiguity – Daniel Zizzo (Newcastle University), Sven Fisher (Newcastle University) and Marco Kleine (Max Planck Institute)
  2. Patenting Strategies in Europe – Dietmar Harhoff (Max Planck Institute), Antanina Garanasvili (Padua) and Georg von Graevenitz (QMUL)
  3. Patent Appeal Cases at the UK High Court – Chris Hanretty (UEA), Georg von Graevenitz (QMUL) and Prashant Gupta (Swansea)

This session brings together contributions from the ESRC Knowledge Exchange “Assessing the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court”. This project was set up to investigate the patenting process in Europe before the introduction of the Unitary Patent System to provide a baseline against which to evaluate the impact of the Unitary Patent.

The session provides new evidence on three aspects of the European patenting process:

  1. Effects of cooling off periods in patent application processes
  2. The choice between national patents and validation of the EPO’s patent in multiple countries
  3. Litigation at the UK High Court – importance of judge effects on outcomes

Each paper addresses aspects of the European patenting system that are relevant to discussion surrounding the Unitary Patent at present. The first paper addresses the question of how applicants’ incentives to pursue a patent are affected by delays enforced by the patent office. This is particularly important in the UK, where patent applicants are not required to seek representation by a patent attorney.  The second paper focuses on the choice between national and EPO patents made by firms patenting in Europe. It provides descriptive evidence at the firm level on firms’ patenting strategies (including validation choices) and analyses the relative impact of national, sectoral and technological influences on these strategies. The third paper analyses how important the characteristics of judges and particularly their experience and educational backgrounds are for the outcomes of patent litigation in the High Court of the UK. 

Each of these papers provides evidence on the current patenting process in Europe that is currently not available. This evidence is intended to inform decisions on the design of patent application processes, the pricing of patents and the education of patent judges that will shape the way the Unitary patent and the existing patent systems in Europe interact.