Patent thickets, patent fees and patent quality: Advisory Board sets priorities for investigations

24 January 2012

EPO President Benoît Battistelli at the board's inaugural meeting

The role and structure of fees, the importance of patent quality and challenges to the functioning of the patent system from overlapping sets of patent rights, so-called patent thickets: these are the issues to be addressed by the Economic and Scientific Advisory Board of the EPO. At its inaugural meeting the Board nominated Professor Dietmar Harhoff of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich as its chairman. Made up of internationally recognised experts with a global perspective and an emphasis on Europe, the Board will advise the EPO on the economic, practical and societal impact of the patent system. The Board is independent in its choice of topics and approaches.

"The analysis of topics chosen by the Board today will improve our understanding of how these issues impact on innovation", EPO President Benoît Battistelli said. "Innovation is crucial to addressing challenges such as climate change, health and food security. I am convinced that, thanks to the guidance and unique expertise of the Board members, meaningful studies will be conducted that will help to better understand the impact of patents on the economy and society."

Chair Prof. Dietmar Harhoff, Prof. Bronwyn Hall, Ruud Peters, Dr. Ayşe Odman Boztosun, Dr. István Molnár, President Battistelli, Dr Mariagrazia Squicciarini, Dr. Nikolaus Thumm, Prof. Sadao Nagaoka, Prof. Mu Rongping, Prof. Geertrui Van Overwalle, Sir Robin Jacob, Béatrix de Russé

The Board members agreed to explore these topics by holding a series of workshops with stakeholders and users of the patent system, as well as with other expert organisations, and to commission new research wherever this seems appropriate.

Supported by the EPO's Chief Economist, the Advisory Board is composed of experts who represent companies, research establishments, universities and other institutions in Europe, Asia and the USA and are familiar with the patent system.

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