DP5283 Modelling the duration of patent examination at the European Patent Office

Author(s): Dietmar Harhoff, Stefan Wagner
Publication Date: October 2005
Keyword(s): European Patent Office, patent examination, patents, survival analysis
JEL(s): C15, C41, D73, O34
Programme Areas: Industrial Organization
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=5283

We analyze the duration of patent examination at the European Patent Office (EPO). Our data contain variables that are correlates of the applicants? and examiners? assessments of a patent?s economic and technical relevance as well as ex post-application citation measures which indicate the impact of the patent application on the state of the art. We present descriptive statistics for 30 major technology fields. In our multivariate analysis we estimate competing risk specifications in order to characterize differences in the processes leading to either a withdrawal of the application by the applicant, a refusal of the patent grant or an actual patent grant by the European Patent Office. Measuring a patent?s importance relying on the number of citations by subsequent patents we find that more important patents are approved faster by the EPO than less important patents but that applicants are more hesitant to withdraw these potentially valuable applications.