Edited by Toshiko Takenaka
Chapter 4: The inventive step and cooperative harmonization
The legal concept of invention has deep historic and political roots. The principle that patents should be reserved for genuine contributions has been traced back as early as the 16th century. Although there are central consistencies among current systems, today the inventive step is marked by distinctions that arise from patent systems based on diverse doctrines, approaches, and economic policies. There is worldwide support for the inventive step’s existence. Unlike more controversial doctrines in intellectual property, there is a virtually uniform understanding that utility patents should not be granted for trivial advances. Currently, over one hundred nations and regions have implemented an inventive step requirement. As additional evidence of its acceptance, participants of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) efforts toward a worldwide Substantive Patent Law Treaty (SPLT), have achieved broad consensus in principle that an inventive step requirement warrants inclusion in the draft.
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