Patent litigation in Europe

Katrin Cremers, Max Ernicke, Fabian Gaessler, Dietmar Harhoff, Christian Helmers, Luke McDonagh, Paula Schliessler, Nicolas van Zeebroeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


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—and we further find important cross-country variances in terms of case outcomes. 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-44
Number of pages44
JournalEuropean Journal of Law and Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Enforcement
  • Europe
  • Patent litigation
  • Patent system
  • Unified patent court


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