Copyright (c) 2005 The American Society of Comparative Law, Inc.
The American Journal of Comparative Law
ARTICLE: Now the Wolf Has Indeed Come! Perspective on the Patent Protection of
Biotechnology Inventions in China
53 Am. J. Comp. L. 207
The patent system is designed to grant inventors and innovators exclusivity over their inventions for a limited period in exchange for public disclosure of their inventions. Patent is thus often taken as "a way of maximizing social welfare by providing incentives for inventors to increase the stock of applied technical knowledge in society (through protection) and discouraging inefficient redundancy of inventive effort (through disclosure)." 1
Different jurisdictions may have different levels of rules, but their patent systems "share common principles." 2 In the United States, as embodied in the US Constitution, the purpose of the patent law is "to promote the Progress of ... useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to...inventors the exclusive Right to their... Discoveries." 3 In the European Union, a similar tenet can be found:
The primary purpose of the modern patent system is to promote technical innovation as the major factor of economic growth by encouraging inventive activity through rewarding inventors for their creative efforts. The patent system thus secures costly investment in research and development and industrial exploitation of research results. Simultaneously, the patent system encourages an early and beneficial dissemination of knowledge in the field of activity involved which, without such protection, might be kept secret. 4
With the advent of each new technology, however, controversy over the monopoly as granted the inventors through the patent system has almost always arisen; "controversy over granting exclusive rights to new technologies is as old as the patent system itself." 5 The focal ...
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