Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Presented at the 7th Cornell Inter-University Graduate Student Conference, April 2011.


While international patent law harmonization has been an issue in progress since the conclusion of the Paris Convention in 1883, it is facing new challenges due to its rising prominence in a knowledge-based economy and the world’s growing sensitivity to the patent system’s social and economic role in society. Since their beginning, patent laws have been inherently diverse for several reasons: territoriality, and distinct policy goals and cultural backgrounds of each nation. However, as globalization intensified the problem of fragmented patent laws, arguments for harmonizing patents laws obtained dominant support in international communities. This paper addresses the need to harmonize patent laws among countries within the growing trend of globalization. The paper further examines implementing measures that realize the harmonization of patent laws. To answer questions regarding the level and order at which harmonization should take place, it is necessary to divide harmonization into four categories according to the procedural–substantive and legislative–administrative standpoint. Even though substantive and legal harmonization might be the final goal of harmonization, it costs too much and takes too long. Rather, as a practically plausible alternative based on cost-benefit analysis, it is worth focusing on a modest harmonization — administrative and substantive harmonization for “Work-sharing.” To implement work-sharing with minimum costs and delay, it is necessary to scrutinize several strategies that promote language-based cooperation, offshore outsourcing, regional patent system, and combination with PCT. Within the undeniable trend of globalization, it is essential to find broad and innovative international cooperation that can benefit all participating countries.

Date of Authorship for this Version



Patent law, Harmonization, Globalization, Work-sharing