International Patent Law

International Patent Law

Cooperation, Harmonization and an Institutional Analysis of WIPO and the WTO

Alexander Stack

Alexander Stack analyzes international patent law institutions and harmonization from a global welfarist, rationalist perspective. Grounding his analysis in innovation theory and an examination of patent law and prosecution, the author employs tools from new institutional economics to explore when cooperation is welfare-enhancing and the design implications for international institutions.

Chapter 2: The Value of Diversity: Relaxed Autarky

Alexander Stack

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law, international economic law, trade law


The assumption of autarky is in many ways misleading; countries have been heavily influenced in their preferred patent practices by flows of information and innovations across borders since the 1800s. If information and incentives flow across borders, how does this change the preferred patent laws? In this chapter, the assumption of autarky is relaxed by allowing information and incentives to innovate to flow across borders. However, this relaxed model does not account for strategic behaviour: countries changing their laws in reaction to other states.1 This is taken into account in Chapter 3, where the assumption of autarky is fully relaxed. Cross-border information and incentive flow raises additional values to diversity in patent laws. These may be separated into static and dynamic concerns. 1 STATIC CONCERNS Consider the implications of cross-border flows in the context of developing versus developed countries. In the case of developing countries, crossborder information and technology flow has ambiguous effects on patent law preferences, depending upon one’s views of the role of patent law in attracting technology transfer or inbound investment and each country’s unique circumstances. In contrast, in developed countries the flow of information and incentives would seem to create a definite divergence in preferred patent policies. 1.1 Developing Countries The most heavily analyzed difference in patent law preferences in recent years is that between the developed and developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, as developing-country intellectual property laws move towards a developed-country standard following the TRIPs Agreement. 27 M2590 - STACK PRINT.indd 27 14/04/2011...

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