International Intellectual Property

International Intellectual Property

A Handbook of Contemporary Research

Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series

Edited by Daniel J. Gervais

International Intellectual Property: A Handbook of Contemporary Research provides researchers and practitioners of international intellectual property law with the necessary tools to understand the latest debates in this incredibly dynamic and complex field. The book contains both doctrinal analyses and groundbreaking theoretical research by many of the most recognized leading experts in the field. It offers overviews of the major international instruments, with specific chapters on the Berne and Paris Conventions, the Patent Cooperation treaty and several chapters that discuss parts of the TRIPS Agreement. The book can also be used by students of international intellectual property to obtain useful knowledge of major institutions and instruments, and to gain an understanding of ongoing discussions.

Chapter 2: International patent law: Principles, major instruments and institutional aspects

Philippe Baechtold, Tomoko Miyamoto and Thomas Henninger

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law, public international law


The search for more innovation for the benefit of the human condition has always driven the human mind, and one early attempt to achieve innovative results was to create incentives encouraging private initiative. Against this background, patent systems were created and developed, and today, some of the most important systems at the international level include the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention), the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the Patent Law Treaty (PLT), and a number of regional patent systems. But while these systems have been – and still are – very useful, there are also questions about the social and economic impact of patent systems and of their possible harmonization, which have led to exploring ways to improve those systems without necessarily imposing further obligations or restrictions on states. The present contribution gives a (necessarily incomplete) overview of both harmonization measures that have been taken at the normative level, as well as of other, more practical, efforts aiming at making the international patent system more user-friendly, more efficient, and also more adapted to respond to developing countries’ needs, without removing the existing policy space of governments. The evolution of international law may take different forms. Harmonization of laws is one form among others that has been utilized regularly. Since the mid 2000s, discussions at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) with respect to the normative development of patent law have shown contrasting views toward harmonization.

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