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16 - Postscript

from Part VI - Epilogue

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 March 2020

Graeme Gooday
Affiliation:
University of Leeds
Steven Wilf
Affiliation:
University of Connecticut
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Summary

Our book has sought to surface the historical varieties of national patent cultures at the moment when the boundaries between global and sovereign patent systems remain uncertain. Patent diversity has been remarkably resilient in the face of harmonization. In the age of empires, colonial patent cultures on the periphery diverged from those of the metropole. In the postcolonial period, newly independent nations envisioned patents as a strategic means to achieve economic traction by promising security to foreign investors, as a form of inventors’ property to satisfy the demands of mechanic politic circles or, quite simply, as a signaling of progress. There is now ever more complexity being added to an already bewildering amount of variation in the intellectual property protection of scientific and technical innovation. It threatens to erase the very territorial boundaries upon which both national patent diversity and harmonization are grounded. Future research needs to address such questions as what does pervasive patent diversity entail in the long term for the prospects of harmonization? Will international governance mechanisms develop that can accommodate variation in patent norms? And how willing might domestic patent systems be to experiment within their own patent cultures? This volume presents a portrait of creative, often innovative variants in how invention can be encouraged through patent. The upshot is that the master historical narrative of patent law appears to be not so much harmonization as resilient heterogeneity.

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Chapter
Information
Patent Cultures
Diversity and Harmonization in Historical Perspective
, pp. 343 - 346
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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