New index measuring the strength of patent systems shapes the decision making and strategic responses of firms and policymakers

Firms and policymakers use indices that measure the strength of patent systems to inform their strategic decision making. However, these indices have received public criticism regarding their transparency, clarity, and objectivity. Dr Nikolaos Papageorgiadis developed a new index that measures the strength of 51 national patent systems and studied their effect on international business. Dr Papageorgiadis engaged with a wide range of practitioners who adopted and used this research. International IP managers use this research to make their international patent filing strategies more efficient, and policy makers use it to benchmark and evaluate the quality of their country’s patent system. 

Background 

The role of the strength of patent systems in influencing international business and innovation activities is a research area that is subject to a strong academic and policymaking debate. To study the effect of patent systems, researchers incorporate in their econometric models indices that measure the strength of a country’s patent system. To date, 40 indices have been published in the academic and practitioner literatures, and the most commonly used index received 3000+ Google Scholar citations. However, this index only measures the availability of patent laws in a country but does not capture the strength of patent enforcement. This is problematic since after the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement in 1994, most WTO countries offer similar levels of patent law on the books but the strength of patent enforcement continues to vary significantly between countries. 

Research 

The research by Dr Nikolaos Papageorgiadis fills in a gap in this research area through the publication and updates of a new index that measures the strength of patent enforcement in 51 countries. The new index challenged conventional approaches in the measurement and empirical use of patent indices in econometric studies and enabled the emergence of new theoretical and empirical approaches in this research area. In particular the new index of Patent Systems Strength (PSS) measures the strength of enforcement of national patent systems and provides annual data for 51 countries, for the years 1998-2017. In follow-on research, Dr Papageorgiadis found that the strength of patent enforcement has: a) a U-shaped effect on innovation activity, b) a positive effect on economic growth, c) a positive effect in attracting Chinese foreign direct investment, and d) a varied effect on the entry mode choice of firms from BRICS countries in Europe. 

Impact 

Dr Papageorgiadis was invited to speak at 10 prestigious European policymaking and practitioner conferences that are attended by IP managers, SMEs, and policy makers. Dr Papageorgiadis initially (2015-2016) participated as a speaker, but from 2017 onwards the invitations request the delivery of keynote speeches such as at a policymaking conference organised by the European Patent Office (May 2017).

Moreover, a number of firms have taken up this work by selecting and applying key strategic country level factors to screen and decide on the optimum number of countries where they will register and maintain their patents. For example: IP Managers use the PSS index to inform their IPFS decision making; the use of the PSS index also helps companies to decide where to patent or discontinue their patent filing activities; patent attorneys use the index in their internally produced guides and booklets, to advise their customers (firms) on where to register and maintain their patents, and in sales presentations, to convince foreign clients to file patents in their country. The index was also used by industrial associations and specialist IP media to inform members and their audience about the strength of patent systems. 

Moreover, policy makers policymakers have used the index to evaluate the strength of their country’s patent system using patent indices in order to inform strategy documents and develop new policies that improve their patent systems, for instance when the Australian Productivity Commission used the PSS index in their enquiry report on the Australian IP system. 

Ongoing Research 

Policymakers aim to strengthen the levels of patent enforcement internationally however, there is limited evidence in the literature to support any positive effects. This is mainly due to the limited availability of suitable indices in the past. Dr Papageorgiadis aims to collect evidence of policymakers using the empirical results of my studies to inform their strategies.