Seminar  |  01/17/2017 | 12:00 p.m.  –  1:30 p.m.

Brown Bag Seminar: Protection Heterogeneity in a Harmonized European Patent System

Raphael Zingg (ETH Zurich)

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Munich, Room 313

This paper seeks to investigate to what extent European patent litigation has been harmonized across the Member States of the European Patent Convention. We introduce a divergent expectation model for patent infringement disputes, where both litigation and settlement are driven by patent quality, a function of both broadness and definiteness of the patent, with the technology-specific factor determining the relative weights. Under our model, patent holders and patent infringers decide whether to settle or litigate based on differences in perception of the patent's quality whereas at the trial stage it is the assessment of the absolute patent quality by the judge which decides the outcome of the case. We evaluate 1117 patent infringement and counterclaim decisions rendered by courts in the three largest patent-granting European countries - Germany, France, and the United Kingdom - between 2008 and 2012 to empirically test the hypotheses flowing from our model at the trial stage. Our preliminary findings point to significant differences in patent litigation outcomes by technology, industry, and jurisdiction. We particularly find evidence that patent litigation is technology-specific within and between countries. We seek to explain our results through an assessment of the value-specific patterns of the patent conflicts and thereby, find that the patent quality proxy we use significantly predicts the litigation outcome. (Authors: Raphael Zingg/Erasmus Elsner)

Contact person: Dr. Fabian Gaessler