International Intellectual Property Law and the Public Domain of Science

18 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2008

See all articles by Graeme B. Dinwoodie

Graeme B. Dinwoodie

Chicago-Kent College of Law

Rochelle Cooper Dreyfuss

New York University - School of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2004


The TRIPS Agreement can be read to reflect a static view of the structure of intellectual property law. In this paper, we address wither - and how - the TRIPS Agreement can, on the other hand, be read with more fluidity, and thus to allow adjustments in national intellectual property regimes designed to reflect the the dynamic nature of information production. To focus that inquiry, we concentrate on efforts to ensure a broader public domain for 'upstream' inventions by modifying various elements of US patent law. The paper considers three stylized examples and asks whether each approach could be adopted by the United States without falling afoul of the TRIPS Agreement as it is currently understood. Our purpose is to identify interpretive approaches that allow member states to keep their laws attuned to the development and needs of science. But in so doing, we also raise broader questions regarding the level of formalism generated by the WTO dispute settlement system, and the extent to which the TRIPS Agreement allocates power between supranational and national institutions, and between international and national laws.

Keywords: TRIPS, TRIPS Agreement, WTO, intellectual property, public domain, international law

JEL Classification: K3

Suggested Citation

Dinwoodie, Graeme B. and Dreyfuss, Rochelle Cooper, International Intellectual Property Law and the Public Domain of Science (June 2004). Journal of International Economic Law, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 431-448, 2004, Available at SSRN:

Graeme B. Dinwoodie

Chicago-Kent College of Law ( email )

565 West Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661
United States

Rochelle Cooper Dreyfuss (Contact Author)

New York University - School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
212-998-6258 (Phone)
212-995-4760 (Fax)

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