The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 5, 2006

Message to the Senate of the United States


With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, subject to the reservation outlined below, I transmit herewith the Patent Law Treaty and Regulations Under the Patent Law Treaty (the "Treaty"), done at Geneva on June 1, 2000, between the Governments of 53 countries including the United States of America. I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, the Key Provisions of the Patent Law Treaty report prepared by the Department of State.

Strong intellectual property protection is a cornerstone of free trade and global market access. This Treaty promotes patent protection by codifying, harmonizing, and reducing the costs of taking the steps necessary for obtaining and maintaining patents throughout the world. The provisions set forth in the Treaty will safeguard U.S. commercial interests by making it easier for U.S. patent applicants and owners to protect their intellectual property worldwide.

The Treaty generally sets forth the maximum procedural requirements that can be imposed on patent applicants, and in addition, provides standardized requirements for obtaining a filing date from which no party may deviate. Additionally, the Treaty provides that applicants cannot be required to hire representation for, among other things, the purpose of filing an application and that patents may not be revoked or invalidated because of noncompliance with certain application requirements, unless the noncompliance is a result of fraud. The Treaty does not limit the United States from providing patent requirements that are more favorable to the patent applicant or patent owner than those set forth in the Treaty or from prescribing requirements that are provided for in our substantive law relating to patents. Additionally, the Treaty is not intended to limit the United States from taking actions that it deems necessary for the preservation of its essential security interests.

This Treaty is in harmony with current U.S. patent laws and regulations, with minor exceptions to be addressed in proposed legislation. Because U.S. law does not require that each patent application apply to only one invention or inventive concept, and because the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office assesses that implementing a provision of the Treaty requiring "unity of invention" for all national applications would require a substantive and impractical change to our Patent Law, I recommend that the following reservation be included in the U.S. instrument of ratification, as allowed by the Treaty:

Pursuant to Article 23, the United States declares that Article 6(1) shall not apply to any requirement relating to unity of invention applicable under the Patent Cooperation Treaty to an international application.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to this Treaty and give its advice and consent to its ratification, subject to the reservation described above.



September 5, 2006.

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