The increasing number of patent applications worldwide and the extension of patenting to the areas of software and business methods have triggered a debate on "patent quality". While patent quality may have various dimensions, this paper argues that consistency in the decision making on the side of the patent office is one important dimension, particularly in new patenting areas (emerging technologies). In order to understand whether patent offices appear capable of providing consistent assessments of a patent's technological quality in such novel industries from the beginning, we study the concordance of the European Patent Office's (EPO's) granting and opoposition decisions for individual patents. We use the historical example of biotech patens filed between 1978 until 1986, the early stage of the industry. Our results indicate that the EPO shows systematically different assessments of technological quality during the granting and the opposition phase. The inconsistency is likely not entirely attributable to additional information revealed after the grant date.
|Place of Publication||København|
|Number of pages||46|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|