Features

Assessing the quality of European patents

By Claudia Tapia

Europe’s major patent offices are often lauded for the quality of the patents that they issue, but is the praise justified?

Patents are often lauded for bringing economic prosperity and continuous innovation. Nevertheless, this positive impact has been questioned by some academics (eg, Lemley, Shapiro and Cohen), who warn about patents and the litigation resulting from enforcing them being (mis)used to extract excessive royalty fees from users of the technology, to the detriment of innovation. In particular, these academics see a problem with alleged infringers being forced to pay a licence for a weak patent.

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