Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : One feature of the European patent system that is heavily criticized nowadays is related to its fragmentation and the induced cost burden for applicants. Once a patent is granted by the EPO, the assignee must validate (and often translate) it and pay the renewal fees to keep it in force in each country in which protection is sought. The objective of this paper is to assess to what extent validation and renewal fees as well as translation costs affect the validation behavior of applicants. We rely on a gravity model that aims at explaining patent flows between inventor and target countries within the European patent system. The results show that the size of countries, their wealth and the distance between their capital cities are significant determinants of patent flows. Validation fees and renewal fees further affect the validation behavior of applicants. Translation costs seem to have an impact as well. The implementation of cost-reducing policy interventions like the London Protocol will, therefore, induce a significant increase in the number of patents validated in each European country. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.