Vienna International Exposition of 1873

First international exposition officially participated in by the Meiji government

Column: International Patent System

In Europe and the United States, the establishment of a modern patent system was already being promoted by different countries prior to the Industrial Revolution. However, if patents were secured by foreigners and the patented products were not produced domestically, a country had no choice but to depend on imports. In this regard, a system was generated to cancel a patent right in such a case or to implement compulsory licensing of a patent to a third party under appropriate conditions.

In Austria, if a patent right was not executed for a year, the right was expropriated compulsorily. As a result, there was concern that latest technologies might be imitated, if exhibited at the Vienna International Exposition. Actually, there were frequent occurrences of imitations of exhibits of international expositions. In response to this, the Austrian government established a special law under which the exhibits of the international exposition were exempted from expropriation. Also, the government held an international conference of industrial property. Such a conference was also held at the third Paris International Exposition of 1878, confirming that the inventions exhibited at international expositions should be protected.

Following a series of discussions, in 1883, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property was concluded. The convention stipulated the principle of equal treatment of domestic and foreign inventors, as well as rules regarding the filing date in a contracting state.


Ishii, Tadashi.: Rekishi no nakano tokkyo: Hatsumei eno hosho shoyuken baisho seikyuken (Koyoshobo, 2009) <A411-J188>