trilateral or even bilateral negotiations or on selected issues whose results, if there is agreement, will have a beneficial demonstration effect on other countries. In the meantime, the practice of convening international panels from the three patent offices to explore common approaches to search and examinations in new technological areas should be continued. This practice is helpful not only in identifying issues for negotiation but, more immediately, in informing patent applicants how their inventions are likely to be treated in each of the patent offices.

The committee recognizes that its proposals, apart from foreign adoption of a grace period, would represent U.S. conformity with other patent systems and may be subject to the charge that we favor “Europeanizing” the U.S. patent system. That is a narrow view. It presumes that only the items enumerated are part of a negotiated package. It implies that the U.S. system features we propose changing are important to its integrity. We disagree. Most important, it ignores what we expect to be the benefits of harmonized priority and examination procedures for U.S. inventors, whether large or small entities—first, faster, more predictable determinations of patentability; second, simplified, less costly litigation; and third, less redundancy and much lower costs in establishing global patent protection.



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