European Policy for Intellectual Property
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Patent thickets, patent fees and patent quality: EPO Advisory Board sets priorities for investigations

[posted: 28-02-2012]
Munich, 24 January 2012 - The role and structure of fees, the importance of patent quality and challenges to the functioning of the patent system from overlapping sets of patent rights, so-called patent thickets: these are the issues to be addressed by the Economic and Scientific Advisory Board of the European Patent Office (EPO). At its inaugural meeting the Board nominated Professor Dietmar Harhoff of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich as its chairman. Made up of internationally recognised experts with a global perspective and an emphasis on Europe, the Board will advise the EPO on the economic, practical and societal impact of the patent system. The Board is independent in its choice of topics and approaches.

"The analysis of topics chosen by the Board today will improve our understanding of how these issues impact on innovation", EPO President Benoît Battistelli said. "Innovation is crucial to addressing challenges such as climate change, health and food security. I am convinced that, thanks to the guidance and unique expertise of the Board members, meaningful studies will be conducted that will help to better understand the impact of patents on the economy and society."
The Board members agreed to explore these topics by holding a series of workshops with stakeholders and users of the patent system, as well as with other expert organisations, and to commission new research wherever this seems appropriate.
Supported by the EPO's Chief Economist, the Advisory Board is composed of experts who represent companies, research establishments, universities and other institutions in Europe, Asia and the USA and are familiar with the patent system.

EPO sets up Economic and Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB)
[posted: 28-02-2012]
Munich, 13 January 2012 - The European Patent Office (EPO) is setting up an Economic and Scientific Advisory Board to address important patent-related economic and social issues in a more selective and dedicated way. Made up of internationally recognised experts with a global perspective and an emphasis on Europe, the board will advise the EPO on economic and social studies.
"Beyond its core business of search, examination and grant of patents, the EPO has a strong interest in the broader economic and social ramifications of the patent system, especially its impact on innovation and economic growth", says EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "The board will advise the Office on what studies to conduct, and offer guidance on their evaluation and implementation".
Using studies and analyses supplied by the EPO and external partners, the board will also provide early warnings on sensitive issues, and make policy recommendations.

Supported by the EPO's Chief Economist, the Advisory Board will be composed of representatives of companies, research establishments, universities and other institutions in Europe, Asia and the USA who are familiar with the patent system. Amongst its first members are two EPIP Board members. Its first members, appointed for three-year terms, are:
Prof. Dr. Dietmar Harhoff, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich (EPIP Former President)
Prof. Bronwyn Hall, University of California, Berkeley
Prof. Dr. Geertrui van Overwalle, University of Leuven (EPIP Vice-President)
The Rt. Hon. Prof. Sir Robin Jacob, University College London, Faculty of Laws
Dr. Mariagrazia Squicciarini, OECD
Prof. Sadao Nagaoka, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo
Prof. Dr. Mu Rongping, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Policy and Management, Beijing
Béatrix de Russé, Technicolor SA, Paris
Ruud Peters, Philips, Eindhoven
István Molnár, Biopolisz, Szeged
Prof. Dr. N. Ayşe Odman Boztosun, Akdeniz University, Antalya

First Chief Economist of the USPTO appointed
[posted: 22-02-2010]
Prof. Stuart Graham, Ph.D. will become the first Chief Economist of the USPTO as of March 1st, 2010. Stuart Graham is well-known to EPIP members and conference participants from several presentations he gave at EPIP Annual Conferences. Stuart Graham holds doctoral degrees in law and in economics, and he has been an Assistant Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology since 2004. He has worked on topics such as licensing, the role of IP for startup firms, continuations and post-grant reviews

New publication
The Economics of Intellectual Property.  Suggestions for Further Research in Developing Countries and Countries with Economies in Transition
WIPO Publication Number: 1012
ISBN: 978-92-805-1791-0
Number of Pages: 216
Published in January 2009.
More information

New IPR website launched
[posted: 18-11-2008]
A group of legal scholars and economists from different universities in the world, including Harvard Law School, Hitotsubashi University, University of Helsinki and Mines ParisTech, have launched of a new online collaborative platform dedicated to standards, patents and antitrust.
More information

Report STOA Workshop: Policy options for the improvement of the European patent system
[posted: 30-07-2007]
The report has been written by a European and interdisciplinary working group in order to assess if the European patent system does adequately fulfil its purpose of stimulating innovation and diffusion of knowledge. The report progresses from the starting position that the European patent system may be operating in certain ways and within certain sectors in a way that improvements can be made.
More information & download

CCIA white paper, "Patent Policy for a Digital Economy".
The report addresses the problems experienced by the IT sector in the US, especially in software.  While the report supports legislative proposals generally favored by the IT sector, it stresses:

  • the business consequences of making patents easy to get, more potent, easy to assert, and available for unlimited subject matter;
  • the need for aggressive long-term reform to address abuses and the buildup of costs and risks in patent practice;
  • the implicit cross-subsidy and backhanded industrial policy that results from a patent system that works much better in some sectors than in others;\
  • the need to raise threshold standards of patent quality in the IT sector to reflect the economic reality of an intensely competitive, innovation-driven global economy; and
  • the need for agreement on fundamental principles and for institutional reforms to guard against capture.
  • The report concludes with 9 recommendations that we believe are needed for genuine patent reform and that will contribute to broadening the debate over patent policy in the new Congress.
The report (40 pages) may be downloaded from the CCIA website at
The two-page executive summary is also available separately at
If you would like a printed copy, please contact Hunter McIntosh, Director of Communications at