Global Norm of National Treatment for Patent Uncertainties: A Longitudinal Comparison Between the US and China

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Sporadic studies on the global norm of national treatment for patent uncertainties (NTPU) urge for insights of changes as well as for clarification to discrepancy. This global norm has been a concern for policy makers and practitioners for over a century, as a socially and strategically more significant matter than before for multilateral cooperation given the active technology transfer across borders. To fill in the void and extend prior studies, we examine the global compliance of NTPU from the perspective of patent pendency and granting by addressing three relevant questions: (1) Is NTPU upheld within countries? (2) How does NTPU diverge across countries? (3) How does NTPU change, as an outcome, over time? Based on the institutional theory, lagged regression modeling and longitudinal comparison of US and Chinese patenting, our findings reveal that: (1) NTPU is overall upheld because equality in pendency is demonstrated in both countries and in US granting, and foreigners are even favored for Chinese granting. (2) NTPU is comparatively divergent between the countries in pendency and granting due to national variations. (3) Regressive and progressive changes in NTPU are evidenced since both countries provide equal or higher granting, but longer pendency than before. Our findings contribute to theories by providing new insights to the global norm of national treatment and institutional theory from the perspective of patent uncertainties. We make novel empirical contribution to address NTPU changes of the top patent filing countries and methodological contribution to the longitudinal comparative study. The results also provide implications that concern policy makers and practitioners to handle patent uncertainties across borders.




Elsevier Inc.

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Journal of World Business