The European policy target in patent law over the last decades has been harmonization. The major cornerstone was set by the European Patent Convention in 1973, the most important international treaty in European patent law, with the inauguration of a patent examination and grant system by the European Patent Office.
The overarching goal of this dissertation project is to empirically investigate whether heterogeneity between the different patent systems of the Member States of the European Patent Convention exist. The thesis seeks to provide empirical evidence of the extent of heterogeneity of protection in infringement and validity patent decisions across countries, technologies, industries and parties in Europe. In light of these overarching findings, it assesses the consequences thereof for the new unified system of the Unified Patent Court. Ultimately, thus, it seeks to determine whether the European policy goal of harmonization in patent systems has been achieved and can be achieved under the unified framework. Thereby, the thesis intends to contribute to the debate on whether a homogeneous or heterogeneous patent system is needed in Europe.
This dissertation consists of four papers. The first pair of papers investigates various dimensions of heterogeneity of technology-wide patents litigation by focusing on the three largest patent-granting states Germany, France and the United Kingdom. The second pair addresses the heterogeneity of biotechnology patents litigation in Europe, especially for patents litigated before several European courts.
Through the combination of law, empirical methods and biotechnology, this policy-driven thesis aims at shaping our understanding of the functioning of patent laws before the courts and their underlying technologies in Europe.