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Intellectual Property in Common Law and Civil Law

Intellectual Property in Common Law and Civil Law

Edited by Toshiko Takenaka

Drawing together the views and experiences of scholars and lawyers from the United States, Europe and Asia, this book examines how different characteristics embedded in national IP systems stem from differences in the fundamental legal principles of the two traditions. It questions whether these elements are destined to remain diverged, and tries to identify common ground that might facilitate a form of harmonization.

Chapter 4: The inventive step and cooperative harmonization

Amy L. Landers

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, law - academic, asian law, comparative law, intellectual property law


The legal concept of invention has deep historic and political roots. The principle that patents should be reserved for genuine contributions has been traced back as early as the 16th century. Although there are central consistencies among current systems, today the inventive step is marked by distinctions that arise from patent systems based on diverse doctrines, approaches, and economic policies. There is worldwide support for the inventive step’s existence. Unlike more controversial doctrines in intellectual property, there is a virtually uniform understanding that utility patents should not be granted for trivial advances. Currently, over one hundred nations and regions have implemented an inventive step requirement. As additional evidence of its acceptance, participants of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) efforts toward a worldwide Substantive Patent Law Treaty (SPLT), have achieved broad consensus in principle that an inventive step requirement warrants inclusion in the draft.

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