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The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act - A New Paradigm for International Harmonisation?

Rochelle Cooper Dreyfuss

(2012) 24 SAcLJ 669

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act makes significant changes in US patent law. Among other things, it moves the US closer to a first-to-file system. As such, the Act adopts a new mechanism for international harmonisation: through convergence rather than top-down imposition of international obligations. This system has much to recommend it. It preserves sovereign authority and democratic values, and gives states an opportunity to experiment with responses to new technologies and organisational changes in the patent industries. After describing the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act and the advantages of convergence, the article discusses institutional developments that can facilitate this mode of harmonisation.