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Enforcement of Patents on Geographically Divisible Inventions

An Inquiry into the Standard of Substantive Patent Law Infringement in Cross-Border Constellations


Agnieszka Kupzok

This work investigates the challenges of enforcement of patent rights in geographically divisible inventions. It considers aspects of technological progress which pose challenges to the established system of patent protection based on the territorial limitation of rights. The analysis focuses on substantive patent law, especially on the infringement provisions. It is carried out in the context of Internet-related inventions, which demonstrate an extraordinarily construed technical nature, namely geographical divisibility. This leads to the inquiry of whether the infringement standard is appropriate in relation to the technological development in ICTs.
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8. Conclusion

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Computer networks form the backbone and blood supply of the global village. Digital technologies have revolutionized the ways in which we handle data, information, and knowledge and are the tools of the knowledge revolution. Spanning across national boundaries, indeed covering the whole globe, these technologies impact almost every aspect of commercial and individual activity.

At the basis of these profound changes, which occurred in less than a span of a human lifetime, lies technical progress, human genius, innovation, and courage to try something new. Patent law aims to encourage, support, and reward this type of activity by awarding exclusivity to successful developers of genuine technical inventions and breakthrough innovations.

However, when it comes to geographically divisible inventions, such as computer networks, the reward mechanism does not function. The inventors and their businesses are held hostage by the territorially limited patent rights, which cannot provide protection for inventions distributed in geographic space.1564 In this sense, geographically divisible inventions fall through the cracks of the current legal system for the protection of inventions.

This research comprehensively addresses the complexity of this phenomenon. First it presents the controversy that arises in the context of geographically divisible inventions. To achieve that, it describes the developments that led to the emergence of patent law infringement constellations involving inventions capable of transborder operation. Emergence of the Internet as a dominant, mass-used and widely applied technology is highlighted and provides the backdrop for the legal analysis carried out in the later...

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