25 Jun 2013
The Structure of Patent Costs and Patent Offices’ Funding: The (Missing) Link to Patent Quality
by Michelangelo Temmerman
Although each system, whether the USPTO, the EPO is working with a different approach in this respect; none of them works along a consistent decoupling of the patent office’s funding from the number of patents granted. More financial resources – an essential part in achieving better patent quality – thus has to pass through more patent being granted. In other words, the office needing to decide on whether or not an invention should be granted a patent will have less income if it says the invention should not. This is a classic case of conflicts of interest; a case where wrong incentives appear. The paper advances essentially two points. First the funding of patent offices as well as how patent examiners are being assessed and rewarded should be disconnected from the number of patents granted. Second, the most cost-efficient and logical manner to do so - agreeing that innovation in the sense of patent law means should mean the same regardless of national borders - would be to implement an international agency responsible for checking the multilaterally agreed, basic requirements for patentability.