Patent Protection in Central and Eastern European Countries

  • Nikolaus Thumm
Part of the Contributions to Economics book series (CE)


The aim of this chapter is to investigate the general role of intellectual property protection and in particular patent protection for the process of transition in Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC). Abramovitz’ approach of technological gaps is the theoretical background for the analysis of CEEC and the role of intellectual property rights -systems for closing technological gaps. The relationship between CEEC and the European Union is at the centre of the dispute. The setting for this is the recent harmonisation efforts between the European Union and CEEC. The analysis looks at intellectual property rights -systems in the CEEC as a means of international diffusion of knowledge, its influence on national innovation and its relationship with international trade. This chapter provides the theoretical background for session 7.3.


Czech Republic Foreign Direct Investment Intellectual Property Patent Application Eastern European Country 
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  1. 237.
    The underlying hypothesis is that productivity growth rates are inversely related with initial productivity levels. See Abramovitz [1986] p. 385.Google Scholar
  2. 238.
    The examples he gives are the change in technological leadership from Britain to the USA at the beginning of this century but also the rapid growth of western European economies in the post world war II decades.Google Scholar
  3. 239.
    Abramovitz [1986] page 390.Google Scholar
  4. 240.
    This point is not so straightforward as international intellectual property rights could also build up obstacles against trade by limiting access to important technological information.Google Scholar
  5. 241.
    Posner [1961].Google Scholar
  6. 242.
    It is important to keep in mind that companies are the economic actors who choose countries with different legal frameworks. Therefore a certain awareness is necessary about the concept of “competing nations”, particularly against the background of globalisation. Compare Straubhaar [ 1994 ].Google Scholar
  7. 243.
    E.g. the following models Krugman [1979], Deardorff [1992], Diwan, Rodrik [1991] Chin, Grossman [ 1988 ].Google Scholar
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  9. 245.
    Vernon [1966] pp. 190–207.Google Scholar
  10. 246.
    This is the major finding from Curie, Levine, Pearlman [ 1996 ]. They conclude that it would pay northern regions to subsidise local innovation in the South.Google Scholar
  11. 247.
    Radosevic [1996] page 143.Google Scholar
  12. 248.
    Compare the more evolutionary approach of Dosi, Pavitt, Soete 1990.Google Scholar
  13. 249.
    Hoekman, Djankov, [1996] figure 2.Google Scholar
  14. 250.
    For the Czech and Slovak Republics growth rate of exports to the EU are the highest and showing greatest re-orientation in their patterns of trade.Google Scholar
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    Compare again Hoekman and Djankov [1996].Google Scholar
  16. 252.
    For a broad overview of the political debate of TRIPs in the GATT Uruguay round see Almeida: [1995].Google Scholar
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    A comprehensive study following this issue for OECD countries is done by G. Münt [1996].Google Scholar
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    See Klodt [1990] p. 67.Google Scholar
  19. 255.
    The data for software piracy are quite illustrative for such low standards. The average piracy rate for 1995 of software products in Eastern Europe was 83 percent in comparison to an average of 49 percent in Western Europe. See Scholar
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    Maskus and Penubarti [1995] analyse the trade relation of intellectual property rights as a trade off between the market-power and the market expansion effect. Ibid page 229.Google Scholar
  21. 257.
    It is a great misconception of economic theory to perceive that intellectual property rights provide pure monopolistic market power. According to Rapp and Rozek the idea of monopoly power fails in practice. At least for pharmaceutical industries intellectual property rights may not mean more than „foothold access to well-populated, competitive markets which permit sellers to do no more than charge competitive prices and earn competitive returns, including the returns to innovation“. Rapp, Rozek, [ 1990 ] p. 101.Google Scholar
  22. 258.
    Find the detailed growth function and its components in Park, Ginarte [1997] page 55.Google Scholar
  23. 259.
    Like e.g. revolutions within a country, the ratio of government consumption to gross national product and the initial secondary school attainment.Google Scholar
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    Park, Ginarte [1997] page 60.Google Scholar
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    Gould, Gruben [1996].Google Scholar
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    Rapp, Rozek, [1990].Google Scholar
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    See Dyker, Perrin [1997] page 5.Google Scholar
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    Pavitt, [1997] p. 44.Google Scholar
  29. 265.
    Gross expenditures for R&D in per capita in CEEC were two times higher than the expenditures of countries like Spain, Ireland and four times higher than those of Greece and Portugal. See Radosevic [ 1996 ] page 188.Google Scholar
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    Dyker and Perrin however, find that the decline in innovative activity in CEEC, actually happened before he fall of the „iron curtain“. [1997] page 6.Google Scholar
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    E g Kallai and Traistaru characterise the situation in Romania before 1989 as a period of innovative output creation, but with no diffusion. Kallai, Traistaru [ 1996 ].Google Scholar
  32. 268.
    Limited in so far, as data before 1990 are either hard to get or are not reliable. For the Czech Republic in particular it is important, that the foundation of the state in 1993 limits the data further. In order to overcome this insufficiency, data of previous years from Czechoslovakia (until 1992) are taken into consideration. Data source for the analysis is based on three pillars, the annual reports of the Czech Industrial Property Office (1990–1996), of the Hungarian Patent Office (1991–1996), of the patent Office of the Republic of Poland (1995–1996), the annual industrial property statistics of the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the Derwent World Patents Index database.Google Scholar
  33. 269.
    For an overview on the membership in international treaties and the protection provided in CEEC see appendix V and VI.Google Scholar
  34. 270.
    International treaties by which the Czech Republic is member or still obtains membership from the pre-war period are pictured in annex VIII.Google Scholar
  35. 271.
    Data of the year 1996, even if included in the figure here, at present still have to be considered uncomplete within the Derwent World Patents Index. So e.g. the 1996 decline for Hungary cannot be interpreted in a meaningful way. Polish data are not included at all in the Derwent World Patents Index.Google Scholar
  36. 272.
    Some numbers of comparison for the dependency rate (OECD definition) for 1994: Germany: 1,58; Netherlands: 14,17; Greece:1463; Poland: 6; Portugal: 437; Spain: 26.Google Scholar
  37. 276.
    The period of protection is only 4 years from the filing date and can be prolonged twice for another 3 years in comparison to the maximum period of 20 years for patent protection.Google Scholar
  38. 277.
    Such a comparison of ranks seems to make more sense here rather than looking at absolute numbers of patenting and trade, like in the form of a regression analysis. Those numbers show very different magnitudes and leaps would differ too much between the two scales, so that distortions are to be expected (e.g. US patents rose e.g. for the Czech Republic from 344(1992) to 915(1993), however imports from 204(1992) million U.S. dollars to 277(1993)). Therefore the interest here is less on absolute numbers but more on the relative position of one country in between the others. Possible conclusions are softer in comparison to clear statements of correlation between trade and patent filing data. However, like this the analysis seems more realistic, even though we might only prove a certain orientation as resultGoogle Scholar
  39. 278.
    A similar study for Western European Economies observed a clear positive correlation for those Economies. See Inkmann, et. al. [1998] page 3.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikolaus Thumm
    • 1
  1. 1.European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective, Technological StudiesW.T.C.SevillaSpain

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