Multilingualism and the international patent system: An assessment of the fairness of the language policy of WIPO

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Abstract

This article provides an evaluation of the language policy of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), by focusing on the reform enacted in 2008 when the Korean language was given the status of a language of publication of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Results show that the 2008 reform entailed a reduction in the costs of access to the PCT procedures for Korean-speaking applicants of about 54%, generating about €24 million savings for them from 2009 to 2011. Further, the new language policy led to a more balanced distribution of admission and interaction costs among applicant countries. It is plausible that the 2008 reform has brought about a transfer of information costs from Korean-speaking countries to English-speaking countries and inventors fluent in English as a second language, but such negative effects have been offset by exogenous factors. This article shows under which conditions adding the Korean language could have had a positive impact on the cost-effectiveness of the language policy of the PCT system as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349–369
JournalJournal of Industry, Competition and Trade
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 19 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • World intellectual property organisation
  • Language Policy

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