Cooperation, Harmonization and an Institutional Analysis of WIPO and the WTO
This book analyzes harmonization and cooperation in the international patent regime and the institutions which facilitate international cooperation. Patent law harmonization – the convergence of national patent laws – has been a topic of tension and concern since the late 1800s. Once the signing of the TRIPs Agreement in 1996 crystallized the issue, international patent law issues gained a higher profile and a steady stream of debate has surrounded international developments. On the one hand, calls for increased harmonization to high levels of patent protection are constant, with many patent owners, practitioners and government officials asserting that a unified global patent law is unquestionably beneficial, an obvious development and should and will inevitably occur. Unification of national patent laws was reportedly the original goal of US negotiators in the Uruguay Round negotiations that led to the WTO and TRIPs Agreements. Pressure for unification of patent laws is not new: the (US) President’s Commission on the Patent System called for a global patent system in 1966.1 This model of unified patent law aspires to a situation where an inventor may, as with copyright, obtain a patent at low cost that is effective in almost every country and, unlike copyright, have this patent enforced worldwide before a world patent court, where all patent disputes are necessarily taken and whose judgments are enforced worldwide.2 Taking the desirability and inevitability of such a system as a given, these commentators usually focus on evaluating various national patent laws to sift for a desirable international model law, or...