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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 16: Employee invention system: Comparative law perspective

Toshiko Takenaka and Yves Reboul

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


Both European and East Asian countries went through major overhauls to further harmonization of patent systems and to remove obstacles for global trade since the enactment of WTO TRIPS in 1994. In particular, European countries enacted the European Patent Convention (‘EPC’) in 1973 and completed harmonization in substantive and procedural aspects of patent procurement. They are enhancing their harmonization efforts in patent enforcement to create a uniform market within European Union (‘EU’) member states by issuing a number of EU regulations and directives. Since EU member states include both common law and civil law countries, EU regulations and directives are a unique amalgam of IP systems in both traditions. East Asian countries’ patent systems also represent another type of amalgam of IP systems in both common law and civil law traditions. These countries originally adopted the German patent system as the model for their own patent systems. After World War II, these countries adopted many aspects from the US patent system as a result of bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations to open their markets. More recently, this US influence is further enhanced because many of these countries adopted pro-patent policies and went through overhaul reforms by using the US patent system as a model for mobilizing the patent system as a form of economic stimulus.

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