The article examines the European Patent Office and how the political economy of intellectual property policy helps to explain the observed sluggishness of European patent filing activity compared to the US and Japan. The analysis also focuses on intellectual property (IP) policy tensions regarding the protection versus the dissemination of 1P. The article shows that the protection function of the European Patent Office (EPO) is driven increasingly by big business pressure (from European and US multinationals) to improve pendency rates and lower costs. On the other hand, regarding the dissemination function, the EPO and national patent offices are under greater pressure to enhance awareness of IP rights and IP knowledge to interests, such as small business, that are more dispersed and weak. The analysis further shows that the relations between the EPO and national offices exhibit a delicate balance between co-operation and competition, financial viability and fee sharing, and concerns about translation and the language of commerce and the survival of national offices.

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Keywords Business interests, European Patent Office, Industrial policy, Innovation policy, Intellectual property policy, Patent policy
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Journal Journal of European Public Policy
Doern, G.B. (1997). The european patent office and the political economy of european intellectual property policy. Journal of European Public Policy, 4(3), 388–403. doi:10.1080/13501769780000061