BYU Law Review


Timothy T. Lau


A working requirement is a provision of intellectual property law that uses the threat of punishment to encourage holders to “work” their intellectual property. This Article examines the case for adding a working requirement to U.S. patent law. It explains that, given the current global trends in economic and technological development, a working requirement that increases the exposure of Americans to new technologies through the manufacture of inventions is necessary for the U.S. patent system to fulfill its constitutional purpose, specifically, “[t]o promote the Progress of Science and Useful Arts.” To that end, this Article analyzes elements of working requirements in foreign patent laws to identify specific features that should be incorporated within a new U.S. working requirement. It also addresses how to structure the working requirement to prevent potential abuse and presents a law and economics analysis as to how the requirement can be used to encourage manufacturing in the United States.


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