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The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property - but is there a future?

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property 1883 is one of the earliest multilateral treaties on any subject which is still in force and in active operation today. With near universal membership, the Paris Convention continues to underpin the international protection of industrial property rights (patents, trade marks, industrial designs and protection against unfair competition).

Significant agreements concerning the international processing and registration of these rights have also been developed in association with the Paris Convention, such as the Madrid Arrangement concerning Trade Marks and the Patent Cooperation Treaty. More recently, the substantive provisions of the Convention have been incorporated into the Agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights, one of the annexed agreements of the WTO.

This seminar considered the continued importance and relevance of the Paris Convention to the protection of industrial property, in the light of both its past and present, and considered future areas of development, notably in the areas of unfair competition and substantive harmonization of industrial property rights. It also highlighted important issues in the general international law of treaties and in the law and "lore" of international institutions.

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  • Professor Sam Ricketson, Melbourne Law School and Arthur Watts Visiting Fellow, British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL)
  • Professor Tanya Aplin, Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London, London
  • Tomoko Miyamoto, Head, Patent Law Section, Patent Law Division, World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva.


  • Sir Richard Arnold, Judge, High Court Chancery Division (Judge in charge of the Patents Court)

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This event was convened by Jill Barrett, Arthur Watts Senior Research Fellow in Public International Law and Sam Ricketson, Arthur Watts Visiting Fellow.

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