Measuring patent assessment quality-Analyzing the degree and kind of (in)consistency in patent offices' decision making

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Research Policy, 2007, 36 (9), pp. 1404 - 1430
Issue Date:
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We argue that consistent decision making in judging a patent's validity and basing this on its underlying technological quality are important elements of patent office service ("assessment") quality. To understand which level of assessment quality patent offices (can) provide, particularly in new technological areas, we study the concordance of the European Patent Office's (EPO) granting and opposition decisions for individual patents. Using the biotechnology industry in the 1980s (an emerging patenting area then) as an example, we find no empirical evidence that the EPO provided maximal or optimal assessment quality as far as can be told from bibliographic indicators. We discuss research limitations and consequences of this first empirical analysis, and suggest ideas for refinements in future work. © 2007.
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