DP7142 Economic incongruities in the European patent system

Author(s): Malwina Mejer, Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie
Publication Date: January 2009
Keyword(s): enforcement, European patent system, litigation process, patent cost, uncertainty
JEL(s): K41, O34, P14
Programme Areas: Industrial Organization
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=7142

This paper argues that the consequences of the ?fragmentation? of the European patent system are more dramatic than the mere prohibitive costs of maintaining a patent in force in many jurisdictions. First, detailed analysis of judicial systems in several European countries and four case studies provide evidence suggesting that heterogeneous national litigation costs, practices and outcome induce a high level of uncertainty. Second, a high degree of managerial complexity results from systemic incongruities due to easier ?parallel imports?, possible ?time paradoxes? and the de facto paradox of having EU-level competition policy and granting authority ultimately facing national jurisdictional primacy on patent issues. These high degrees of uncertainty and complexity contribute to reduce the effectiveness of the European patent system and provide additional arguments in favour of the Community patent and a centralized litigation in Europe.