International comparisons of patent systems are essential to harmonization treaties and to analyze economic growth. Yet these comparisons often rely on little but conventional wisdom. This paper develops an empirical method to compare the economic strength and quality of patent systems by using renewal analysis of matched patents in different countries (same patent family). Comparing patents on the same inventions filed at the EPO for Germany and in the US, we find that the German patents generate substantially greater market power than their US equivalents, especially for small inventors. Also, the average US patent has relatively lower economic value (“quality”).
James Bessen & Grid Thoma,
Which Patent Systems are Better for Inventors?
Available at: https://scholarship.law.bu.edu/faculty_scholarship/3175