The causal effect of including standards-related documentation into prior art: evidence from a recent EPO policy change

Authors: Rudi Bekkers (Eindhoven University of Technology) and Arianna Martinelli (CNR-IBINET and Scuola superiore Sant’Anna)

The aim of this paper is to investigate the causal effect of a recent attempt undertaken by the EPO to improve the quality of the patent granting process. To do so we examine a policy change that aimed at including the information revealed during the standardisation-setting process into the official definition of prior art. All the empirical analysis consistently support that the policy was successful. Indeed, we find a negative and strongly significant reduction in the granting rate, suggesting that the process of patent granting has become more careful and selective after the policy implementation.

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