Disclosure Requirements for Patent Application: Article 29 of the TRIPS Agreement and a Dimensional Exploration
European Intellectual Property Review, Vol. 34, Issue 5, 2012
Posted: 18 Mar 2011 Last revised: 3 Jan 2015
Date Written: November 1, 2010
Disclosure is essential in the patent system, and is the ultimate goal of the patent system. The TRIPS Agreement, the current highest international harmonization on substantive patent law, explicitly stipulated patent disclosure rules in its article 29. This provision looks simple at the first glance, but there are some complicated issues in it. There are both compulsory and non-compulsory obligations for WTO members under this article. There are certain flexibilities for WTO members to implement this article, and room for WTO members to interpret it in implementation. This paper firstly outlines the significance of disclosure in patent application, and provides a general understanding on the content of article 29 of the TRIPS Agreement. Then it focuses on the discussion of several issues about article 29 of the TRIPS Agreement, including: the reason for article 29 to be entitled as “conditions on patent applicants” rather then “disclosure requirements on patent applicants”; the relationship between enablement and written description; the best mode disclosure issue; the relationship between specification and claims; disclosure about foreign applications; and the new emerging issue, the source disclosure of genetic materials in patent application. This paper will try to provide a dimensional exploration on these issues.
Keywords: TRIPS, Patent, Disclosure
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