DP5970 | When Small is Beautiful: Measuring the Evolution and Consequences of the Voluminosity of Patent Applications at the EPO

Publication Date

03/12/2006

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Abstract

The joint increase in the number and size of patents filed around the world puts patent systems under pressure. This paper addresses issues in measuring the voluminosity of patent applications and highlights patterns in its evolution. The results - based on a 2 million EPO applications database - show that the average size of applications has doubled over the past 20 years and that it is mainly associated with PCT applications having a US priority. Voluminosity indicators are also influenced by geographical origins and technological areas and strongly impact the workload of the EPO, justifying the need for regulatory and policy actions.