Improved Patent Information Disclosure and Access for Incremental Innovation
Chapter 7: The case of Tunisia
The case of Tunisia supports the central hypothesis of this book in so far as it exemplifies how developing countries lack the capacity to take full advantage of the obligation of disclosing clear and complete patent information. This chapter argues that although Tunisian patent law has complied with article 29 of TRIPS, patent information users suffer a disadvantage. The narrowness of the public domain and the low quality of the disclosed patent information inhibit its exploitation for development. In general terms, the public domain covers ‘the plurality of the results of intellectual activity, which may be freely used by any person’. Conversely, a narrow definition describes the public domain as a ‘subset of the unprotected results of intellectual activity, which have never been protected and/or which have ceased to be protected as a result of the termination or suspension of the term of validity of proprietary rights in the corresponding intellectual property subject matter’. With respect to patent law, this term refers to the ‘body of ideas, knowledge, science, technical information and innovations upon which no person or organisation has any proprietary rights, therefore, matters fallen into the public domain are available to everyone for free to use and exploit by any means’.
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