Patent systems are criticized increasingly for failing to respond in a coherent and effective manner to key economic, societal, and political challenges, such as climate change and global health problems. Frequently such criticism eventually leads to a push for fundamental patent reforms, including the establishment of new institutions and regulation. Yet, there is a risk that some of these reforms are not apt for achieving the underlying objectives.
In Europe and the US, radical patent reforms are taking place today. In Japan, the patent system was changed significantly a decade ago. In view of the strategic role in stimulating research and development, innovation and competitiveness, which is widely attributed to patents, it is important to examine and compare patent systems, the objectives for patent reforms, reform processes and the institutional changes. Such an examination may provide useful lessons on governance experiments in other jurisdictions.
The current project has four main aims. Firstly, to examine how patent governance and patent reform processes can be put on firmer theoretical grounds and can be analyzed within a more advanced conceptual framework. In this respect, it aims to add to the state-of-the-art by elaborating on the available governance literature of public administration, comparative politics and institutional change; secondly, to analyze and compare the European, US and Japanese patent reforms, the patent reform processes and the implementation of the reforms; thirdly, to develop a taxonomy of modes of institutional change and, fourthly, to identify best practices.
These aims lead to the following research questions: (1) What are pivotal elements for a conceptual governance framework tailored to the particularities of patent systems? (2) What is the state of affairs ("law in the books" and "law in practice") of the implementation of the European, US and Japanese patent reforms? (3) Can a taxonomy of institutional change be developed on the basis of the comparative analysis under (2)? (4) Are there any particular "best practices" that can be derived from the comparative analysis and taxonomy of institutional change, which could be applied within other jurisdictions?