Intellectual Property Rights:

U.S. Companies' Views on Patent Law Harmonization

T-GGD-94-11: Published: Oct 7, 1993. Publicly Released: Oct 7, 1993.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO discussed U.S. companies' views on patent law harmonization. GAO noted that: (1) if patent harmonization is to be realized, the United States, Japan, and Europe need to fundamentally change their patent application and publication processes; (2) since 1980, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has attempted to negotiate a treaty that would establish patent harmonization, strengthen patent protection, and facilitate world trade; (3) the United States would have to adopt a first-to-file system and publish all patent applications within 18 to 24 months to comply with WIPO Treaty provisions; (4) in 1990, the Commerce Department recommended that the United States comply with WIPO treaty provisions; (5) both large and small U.S. companies have generally supported adoption of a first-to-file system and compliance with patent application publishing standards; (6) many U.S. companies support patent harmonization only if Japan agrees to make significant changes to its patent system because of significant problems in obtaining and enforcing patents in Japan; (7) if Japan is to comply with WIPO provisions, it needs to allow patent filings in any language, eliminate the pre-grant opposition system, adopt a 12-month grace period, and complete patent examination within 2 years; and (8) Japan supports patent harmonization only if the United States changes its patent process.

Jan 19, 2021

Nov 23, 2020

Nov 19, 2020

Oct 30, 2020

Oct 13, 2020

Oct 1, 2020

Sep 30, 2020

Sep 28, 2020

Jul 30, 2020

Jun 29, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here