Methods and Applications
Edited by Federico Munari and Raffaele Oriani
Chapter 2: A Law and Economics Introduction to Patent Law and Procedure
Massimiliano Granieri 2.1 INTRODUCTION A legal perspective on patents in a book on the economic valuation can help to better define the subject matter and to understand the dynamics of the patent system. Clearly, there is no such thing as a one patent system, since patent protection is awarded by national legal systems according to rules and procedures that, although converging at international level, still show differences. Ever since, international conventions and regional treaties have pursued some degree of harmonization in terms of procedures, requirements for protection and enforcement. One major effort in this sense is the adoption of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) agreement by countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO).1 As a consequence, notwithstanding national differences, patent systems – although not perfectly identical – are homogeneous to some extent and, in practical terms, patent owners can have sets of parallel patents worldwide to cover the same technology. Harmonization does not mean that there is one law of patents everywhere yet. At a regional level, the absence of a unified system is a major source of uncertainty and risk, especially for enforcement strategies, since patent cases are still decided by judges before national courts.2 This chapter will discuss patents following a comparative approach and will deal with patents from the legal standpoint but at a general level, mostly disregarding minor differences among legal systems or pointing out differences when those have a substantial influence in defining the limits of patent protection and, as far...
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