Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Today, one of the biggest obstacles facing inventors is the problem of patent harmonization. Inventors, who spend their time, money, and resources to develop new technology, are faced with the problem of ensuring that their new development receives patent protection not only in their home countries, but also worldwide. This problem is complicated by the fact that the United States maintains a different patent filing process than most other developed nations. Efforts of the international community to harmonize these different approaches, however, have been only partially successful.

In this Article, Professor Wegner examines the latest attempt by the international community to harmonize patent law minimum standards. First, Professor Wegner traces the historical path of harmonization, examining previous efforts at patent harmonization by the European Union and the United Nations Committee of Experts. He then examines the reluctance of the United States to move to a "first-to-file" patent system. In addition, Professor Wegner examines the requirements of the new Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Agreement (TRIPS). In support of the TRIPS Agreement, he urges the United States to honor the treaty commitments in this area so that the world can more quickly develop a fair system to deal with the global patent problem.