On the Price Elasticity of Demand for Patents


  • Gaetan de Rassenfosse,

    1. Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, and Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia, The University of Melbourne, Level 7, Alan Gilbert Building, Victoria 3010, Australia (e-mail: gaetand@unimelb.edu.au)
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  • Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie

    1. Université libre de Bruxelles (Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, ECARES), Brussels, Belgium
    2. Bruegel, Brussels, Belgium
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  • The authors are grateful to Karin Hoisl, Paul Jensen, Keld Laursen, Laura Toschi, Nicolas van Zeebroeck and two anonymous referees, as well as the Editor for useful comments. This paper has benefitted from comments of the audience of various seminars and conferences including the 4th EPIP conference (Bologna), the 98th AEA conference (Tokyo) and the DRUID-DIME Winter 2009 PhD conference (Aalborg). Gaetan gratefully acknowledges financial support from the FRS-FNRS.


This paper provides an analysis of the impact of patent fees on the demand for patents. It presents a dataset of fees since 1980 at the European (EPO), the US and the Japanese patent offices. Descriptive statistics show that fees have severely decreased at the EPO over the 1990s, converging towards the level of fees in the US and Japan. The estimation of dynamic panel data models suggests that the price elasticity of demand for patents is about −0.30. These results suggest that the laxity of fee policy at the EPO has significantly contributed to the rising propensity to patent.