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Patent Law in Global Perspective$
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Ruth L. Okediji and Margo A. Bagley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199334278

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199334278.001.0001

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The Limits of Substantive Patent Law Harmonization

The Limits of Substantive Patent Law Harmonization

(p.127) 5 The Limits of Substantive Patent Law Harmonization
Patent Law in Global Perspective

Graham Dutfield

Oxford University Press

Patent law harmonization at the level of principles, rules, and institutional structures is a highly ambitious goal. Its practical intent is to facilitate secure patent coverage on a global scale and for the longest period possible, and to accelerate and cheapen the process of attaining it. Economically the stakes are very high, not just for businesses but also for nations. Generally speaking, harmonization based on high protection standards benefits leading innovator countries and large businesses already enjoying strong market power assisted by their ownership of sizeable intellectual property portfolios. Follower nations and businesses seeking to enhance their innovation levels prefer, understandably, to maintain a greater freedom to copy than such harmonization would allow. This chapter reviews recent harmonization efforts at the international level and explains their lack of success despite the apparent economic and political dominance of advocates and the relative weakness of opponents.

Keywords:   harmonization, WIPO, economic development, Substantive Patent Law Treaty, international lawmaking, developing countries

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