Transparency for efficiency of the international patent system

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Confidentiality of patent applications and delayed release of other patent documents have been the underlying principles of the patent system, but the realities of the modern networked innovation systems undermine their justification. Moreover, traditional secrecy of the patent system may be at least partially responsible for the problems currently challenging the system - that is - deterioration in the patent quality, patent thickets, and evergreening. Lack of transparency may also be standing in a way of efficiency and new innovation. Limiting the secrecy may promote faster technology development and lower the cost (by reducing the volume of low quality applications, where patentability defects would be more easily discoverable). The paper overviews the historical transparency of the patent systems and argues that it is increasingly unjustified. More specifically the transparency through the PCT procedure at the European Patent Office, publication of the search and review outcomes, as well as some features of the main international public patent databases are investigated. The findings have implications to most patent systems worldwide. The paper advocates the need to increase transparency of the patent system in several ways: by advancing the publication of the patent application and the search and review outcomes, as well as by improving patent data availability in the databases. In addition to the systemic benefits, this would also ensure that important patent data is available earlier and is more discoverable, thus contributing to greater efficiency of the patent system.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)118-132
    Number of pages15
    JournalNTUT Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Management
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2014



    • Patent
    • Patent database
    • Patentability
    • Search and review
    • Secrecy

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Strategy and Management
    • Law

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