The London Agreement and the cost of patenting in Europe
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This paper analyses the consequences for the European patent system of the recently ratified London Agreement, which aims to reduce the translation requirements for patent validation procedures in 15 out of 34 national patent offices. The simulations suggest that the cost of patenting has been reduced by 20–30% since the enforcement of the LA. With an average translation cost saving of €3,600 per patent, the total savings for the business sector amount to about €220 millions. The fee elasticity of patents being about −0.4, one may expect an increase in patent filings of 8–12%. Despite the translation cost savings, the relative cost of a European patent validated in six (thirteen) countries is still at least five (seven) times higher than in the United States.
KeywordsEuropean patent system London Agreement Patent fees Translation costs Fee elasticity
JEL ClassificationsP14 P51 O34
The authors are grateful to Marco Connor, Andrew Fielding, Stephen Gardner and Gaétan de Rassenfosse for their useful comments as well as to the participants of the CESifo Venice Summer Institute—Workshop Reforming Rules and Regulations, 18–19 July 2008.
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