Territoriality in Intellectual Property Law A comparative study of the interpretation and operation of the territoriality principle in the resolution of transborder intellectual property infringement disputes with respect to international civil jurisdicti
Abstract: The principle of territoriality is a truism in intellectual property (IP) law. A premise underlying the principle is the right of each state to determine the extent to which IP rights exist and are protected within its own territory to fulfil its own economic, social and cultural policy goals. This is done by giving a right to prevent others from doing within the protected territory any of the acts that are exclusively reserved to the right holder under the IP statute that granted or protects the IP right. The principle of territoriality informs that IP rights granted or protected by a state are independent from those granted or protected by other states, and that the rights conferred under each state’s IP law are limited to the territory of that state. As the principle of territoriality neatly allocated jurisdiction among states on a territorial basis, it purportedly obviated the need for private international law. Each state exercised jurisdiction over the infringement of its own rights and applied its own domestic IP law, which served the interests of the states and of the parties.With the increase in the protection and exploitation of IP rights across national borders, infringements do not remain within hermetically sealed national territories. Acts taken in one state can have effects in other states and impair the policies that the rights were designed to fulfil. This raises questions concerning the territorial scope of application of the domestic IP law, that is, whether it is interpreted with respect to a domestic tangible act, effects on a domestic policy goal or both. In addition, the transborder exploitation of IP rights raises questions of private international law with respect to whether states exercise jurisdiction and apply national law to disputes concerning infringements of their domestic rights or whether states exercise jurisdiction and apply national law to disputes arising from acts committed in their territories (or both). These determinations may depend on different factors such as the different interests taken into consideration (e.g. state or party interests), the different legal traditions upon which the legal systems are based and the characteristics and functions of the IP rights themselves.This dissertation compares the interpretation and operation of the principle of territoriality of IP law in the private law resolution of transborder IP infringement disputes in the legal systems of the European Union and the United States, two distinctly different legal systems that have significant trade and investment relations with each other. The comparison shows that while the systems are functionally similar, the principle of territoriality is interpreted and operates somewhat differently in the two legal systems.
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