Patents for Development

Patents for Development

Improved Patent Information Disclosure and Access for Incremental Innovation

Nefissa Chakroun

This book investigates whether it is possible to execute the disclosed technologies just by reading the patent application. Nefissa Chakroun argues that while TRIPS Agreement obliges inventors to disclose full and complete disclosure, patent information users lack the capacity to fully utilise such information for their economic development. The book offers a critical analysis of the disclosure requirements of the patent system as well as an in-depth examination of the ways in accessing and retrieving patent information. Chakroun articulates proposals for strengthening the disclosure and methods for enhancing retrieval and exploitation of the technological knowledge, including an integrated policy on how patent information could be better utilised for development

Chapter 7: The case of Tunisia

Nefissa Chakroun

Subjects: development studies, law and development, law - academic, intellectual property law


The case of Tunisia supports the central hypothesis of this book in so far as it exemplifies how developing countries lack the capacity to take full advantage of the obligation of disclosing clear and complete patent information. This chapter argues that although Tunisian patent law has complied with article 29 of TRIPS, patent information users suffer a disadvantage. The narrowness of the public domain and the low quality of the disclosed patent information inhibit its exploitation for development. In general terms, the public domain covers ‘the plurality of the results of intellectual activity, which may be freely used by any person’. Conversely, a narrow definition describes the public domain as a ‘subset of the unprotected results of intellectual activity, which have never been protected and/or which have ceased to be protected as a result of the termination or suspension of the term of validity of proprietary rights in the corresponding intellectual property subject matter’. With respect to patent law, this term refers to the ‘body of ideas, knowledge, science, technical information and innovations upon which no person or organisation has any proprietary rights, therefore, matters fallen into the public domain are available to everyone for free to use and exploit by any means’.

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