WIPO administered treaties
The Budapest Treaty eliminates the need to deposit microorganisms in each country where patent protection is sought. Under the treaty, the deposit of a microorganism with an "international depositary authority" satisfies the deposit requirements of treaty members' national patent laws. An "international depositary authority" is capable of storing biological material and has established procedures that assure compliance with the Budapest Treaty. Such procedures include requirements that the deposit will remain available for the life of the patent and that samples will be furnished only to those persons or entities entitled to receive them.
The Hague Agreement is an international registration system which offers the possibility of obtaining protection for up to 100 industrial designs in designated member countries and intergovernmental organizations (referred to as "Contracting Parties") by filing a single international application in a single language, either directly with the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or indirectly through the office of the applicant's Contracting Party.
Patent Cooperation Treaty
Under this WIPO-administered treaty, nationals or residents of a contracting state file a single patent application, called an "international" application, with their national patent office or with WIPO as a receiving office. This automatically lodges the application for patent protection in all contracting parties of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). By simplifying patent application filing, the PCT assists innovators in obtaining patent protection throughout the world. It also encourages small businesses and individuals to seek patent protection abroad.
Patent Law Treaty
The Patent Law Treaty (PLT) harmonizes and streamlines formal procedures in respect of national and regional patents and patent applications, making the procedures and the global patent system more user friendly. To do so, the provisions of the PLT set forth a maximum set of requirements a party to the treaty may apply. It does not, however, harmonize substantive patent law. Rather, it makes it easier for patent applicants and patent owners to obtain and maintain patents throughout the world by simplifying and, to a significant degree, aligning formal requirements associated with patent applications and patents among global patent offices and jurisdictions.
The International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, or UPOV Convention, was adopted on December 2, 1961, following a diplomatic conference held in Paris, France. The UPOV Convention is administered by the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), an intergovernmental organization with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The mission of UPOV is to provide and promote an effective system of plant variety protection, with the aim of encouraging the development of new varieties of plants, for the benefit of society.
Trade-related treaties and agreements
The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) came into force in 1995, as part of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO). TRIPS applies basic international trade principles to member states regarding intellectual property, including national treatment and most-favored-nation treatment. TRIPS establishes minimum standards for the availability, scope, and use of seven forms of intellectual property: copyrights, trademarks, geographical indications, industrial designs, patents, layout designs for integrated circuits, and undisclosed information (trade secrets). It spells out permissible limitations and exceptions in order to balance the interests of intellectual property with interests in other areas, such as public health and economic development. For the complete text of the TRIPS Agreement, as well as an explanation of its provisions, see the WTO website.