European Journal of Law and Economics (2017)with K. Cremers, M. Ernicke, D. Harhoff, C. Helmers, L. McDonagh, P. Schliessler and N. van Zeebroeck
We compare patent litigation cases across four European jurisdictions—Germany, the UK (England and Wales), France, The Netherlands—using case-level data gathered from cases filed in the four jurisdictions during the period 2000–2008. Overall, we find substantial differences across jurisdictions in terms of caseloads—notably, courts in Germany hear by far the largest number of cases, not only in absolute terms, but also when taking macro-economic indicators into account. Moreover, we show empirically that a considerable number of patents are litigated across multiple European jurisdictions; and further, that in the majority of these cases divergent case outcomes are reached across the different jurisdictions, suggesting that the long-suspected problem of inconsistency of decision-making in European patent litigation is in fact real. Finally, we note that the coming into force of the Unified Patent Court in Europe may, in the long term, help to alleviate this inconsistency problem.