The relationship between first and second tier patent protection: the case of the Dutch short-term patent system abolition

Authors: Jussi Heikkilä (University of Jyvaskyla)

Empirical evidence on the interaction between patent and second tier patent systems in advanced economies is almost non-existent. This paper studies how the abolition of the Dutch short-term patent system in June 2008 affected the patent filing activity at the Dutch patent office. The abolition was motivated by the uncertainty, which unexamined short-term patents were claimed to create. The analysis with synthetic control method indicates that the abolition of the short-term patent institution led only to a temporary decrease in the level of patent applications. This might indicate that potential short-term patent applicants shifted to apply for normal 20 years patents. The result questions justifications of short-term patent systems in advanced economies: a two-tiered system complicates “the rules of the game” but might not provide any additional boost to innovation in comparison to a normal patent system.

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