Edited by Toshiko Takenaka
Chapter 2: International treaties and patent law harmonization: today and beyond
The history of the international development of patent law shows that harmonization per se has never been an end in itself. Patent law harmonization has always been a tool to respond to challenges that requires international solutions. This chapter reviews the historical development of harmonization of patent law from the perspective of what is codified in the international agreements, and what has been left out for countries to use their flexibilities in fine-tuning their legislation. Beyond the international treaties concluded in the auspices of WIPO and WTO, this chapter also illustrates unilateral and bilateral initiatives that have facilitated international harmonization of patent law. Recently, cooperation among patent offices is more oriented to practical measures that do not involve normative changes, but assist applicants to obtain patent protection in multiple jurisdictions and improve the quality and efficiency of the operation of patent offices.
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