Major Challenges for the Future
Chapter 2: Patents and their International Application
BASIC PRINCIPLES AND INTERNATIONAL PATENT RULES The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of 1883 (Paris Convention)1 is the first multilateral agreement involving regulation and uniformity of industrial property laws, covering patents, industrial designs, trademarks, and trade names. It provides for the establishment of an international union of member states, the ‘Paris Union’, and a minimum standard of industrial property laws to harmonize divergent national laws and repress unfair competition. There are 30 articles stipulating basic principles of industrial property protection. Member states have an obligation under the Convention to adopt a minimum standard of protection in their national patent laws (Baxter and Sinnot 1987). The Paris Convention has also exercised a profound influence on non-member countries. This is reflected in the incorporation of the Convention’s key provisions in the national patent laws of many developing countries (Blakeney 1989). Yet, it still provides the administrative framework for the implementation of its provisions. The Paris Convention does not establish specific principles of industrial property protection such as the patentability criteria, subject-matters, and the term of protection but provides four basic principles of national treatment, right of priority, independence of rights, and local working of patents. To date, these basic principles remain the core of the international patent system under the Paris Convention. They are also cornerstones of the World Trade Organization (WTO) legal system as they are incorporated into the TRIPS Agreement and constitute TRIPS obligations (see TRIPS Agreement, Article 2.1). We shall now examine the basic principles...
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