September 2011, Volume 97, Issue 5|
Courts as Diplomats: Encouraging an International Patent Enforcement Treaty Through Extraterritorial Constructions of the Patent Act
97 Va. L. Rev. 1181 (2011)
Although patent rights confer substantial market control within their territorial scope, globalization is increasingly threatening the value of patent protection. Under the current regime, innovators who enter the global marketplace must obtain patent protection in each jurisdiction where they hope to market their product, and they must litigate infringement claims separately in each of those states. The prohibitive cost of this regime has led many scholars and intellectual property law officials to call for a global patent enforcement treaty, but, despite years of negotiations, all efforts to draft such an agreement have failed.
This Note examines the role that U.S. courts may play in promoting a global patent enforcement treaty. Drawing on an emerging line of statutory interpretation scholarship that encourages courts to rely on default rules that will promote desirable political action, it examines the two primary sources of judicial power in international patent law: extraterritorial application of the Patent Act and supplemental jurisdiction over foreign patent infringement claims. After concluding that a treaty-eliciting interpretive rule is appropriate in the context of a global patent enforcement treaty, the Note contends that a presumption in favor of extraterritoriality for the Patent Act is the more efficient way to provoke discord among the major economic powers and prod the international community to address the needs of innovators in the global economy.
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