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32 William Mitchell Law Review 1583


In view of the fact that the PCT is composed of almost 130 countries and that more than 100 national and regional patent offices, as well as WIPO itself, perform PCT functions, it is remarkable that the system operates so smoothly and continues to gain momentum. Perhaps the system’s greatest strength comes from the immense diversity of legal, linguistic, and national cultures that constitute the PCT. While the system has served to harmonize divergent practices, it has also been obliged to accommodate to the sometimes inflexible peculiarities of national law and procedure. The PCT’s ability to strike a balance between the two has proven to be one of the system’s greatest accomplishments. As the PCT looks to the future, it is also one of its most daunting challenges.


This article is co-authored with Isabelle Boutillon, Director of the Patent Cooperation Treaty Global Outreach Division, Office of the Patent Cooperation Treaty at the World Intellectual Property Organization