Ben McEniery


The world is slowly but inexorably moving towards adopting an integrated global patent system. It is inevitable that the present inefficient and splintered system in which patents must be separately obtained and enforced in each nation state must evolve to make obtaining global patent protection an achievable proposition for those other than just the wealthiest multinational corporations. The global patent system proposed in this article allows a patent applicant to file a single patent application in an international patent office, have that patent application examined in accordance with a uniform patentability standard, and results in the grant of a unitary patent that is enforceable in all member states. The proposed system differs significantly from previous proposals for a global patent system because it calls for matters of patent enforcement to remain the exclusive domain of member states and their courts rather than calling for the creation of an international patent court to hear infringement suits. This aspect of the proposal makes it a viable alternative to the current system because it allows nation states to retain a degree of sovereignty and control over the patents that are enforced in their territories, while embracing the substantive and procedural efficiencies concomitant with a truly integrated global patent system.