International Patent Law
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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.
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Conclusions and Implications

Alexander Stack


This book has investigated international patent law harmonization and the international institutions that shape international patent law. It has considered when is international patent law harmonization well founded, and how can international institutions facilitate such harmonization? Two underlying themes have emerged: first, patent law harmonization is fundamentally a political process, and second, patent law harmonization is structured by how patents affect industry and innovation – innovation policy. This work is complementary to works such as those of Sell, Ryan, and Braithwaite and Drahos that discuss the complex politics and history behind the signing of the TRIPs Agreement.1 While this book heavily abstracts international patent cooperation to seemingly automated mechanisms, the speed and intensity of these mechanisms are provided by actual actors such as the Intellectual Property Committee (IPC) and the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), representing patent and copyright industry interests respectively.2 In examining the political and economic implications of a patent-generated profit flow between states, it should be remembered that the actual extent to which a country such as the United States focuses on such profit flows in its international relations depends as much upon the efforts of concerned companies, lobbyists and other policy entrepreneurs as on strict welfare calculations. WHEN IS INTERNATIONAL PATENT LAW HARMONIZATION WELL FOUNDED? Well-founded harmonization implements a trade-off between the value of diversity and the gains from harmonization. The unification of laws is only supported if the benefits of harmonization heavily outweigh the costs of a loss of diversity in national laws. Since, as argued...

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