A Handbook of Contemporary Research
Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Toshiko Takenka
Chapter 5: International Treaties and Patent Law Harmonization: Today and Beyond
Tomoko Miyamoto* 1 Introduction Since the conclusion of the Paris Convention in 1883, an international patent law has been progressively developing. Commonalities in national patent laws have been steadily increasing. International norm setting, however, is facing new challenges today due to the increased recognition of the role of the patent system in the knowledge-based economy. On the one hand, the patent system is enjoying success in the sense that patent protection is sought in wider sectors of business and commerce in increasingly broader geographic territories.1 On the other hand, many concerns have been raised with respect to the social and economic roles of the patent system. Some critics go even further to question the concept of intangible property in the information age, whereby intangible information as such is increasingly becoming a core element of the innovation which shapes our society. Over the course of human history, numerous theories have been introduced to justify exclusive rights on intangible technical ideas.2 Among those, one of the well-accepted theories is the economic incentive theory, that is, that the principal objectives of the patent system are to encourage innovation, to promote the development of technology and to foster dissemination of innov- * The statements and views expressed in this chapter are solely those of the author and do not represent any official position of WIPO. This chapter is partly based on an earlier article, Philippe Baechtold and Tomoko Miyamoto, ‘International Patent Law Harmonization – Search for the Right Balance’ (2005) Journal of Intellectual Property Rights, 10:...
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