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Vol. 2 (2006)

Patentability Under Trips: The Need For Uniformity

Donald S. Chisum

International intellectual property law has never been uncontroversial, and patent law in particular has been the subject of heated debate. The advent of TRIPS seems to have fuelled rather than ended these discussions, as arguments continue to rage on in developing countries about the subject-matter and patent term provisions of TRIPS and the ways in which developed countries have purportedly used TRIPS to impose their own laws on the world. However, such an approach misses the point of TRIPS altogether: the need for international harmonisation. By examining two recent examples from US case law, it becomes apparent that the developed nations need harmonisation as much as the developing nations do, and thus the focus should be on facilitating full harmonisation rather than impeding it through challenging specific provisions.


Former Inez Mabie Professor of Law, Santa Clara University; A.B. ’66, Stanford University; J.D. ’68, Stanford Law School.

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