The United States Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in Bond v. United States, a case that could undermine America's ability to carry out its treaty obligations. The case casts a shadow over the country's power to implement a wide variety of international agreements, bringing into question an issue that most experts thought had been settled long ago. In 1920, the Supreme Court held in Missouri v. Holland that Congress has the power to pass laws implementing a treaty, even if those laws would otherwise be beyond the legislative powers granted to Congress. In this Intellectual Property Watch article, Klint Alexander notes that, if the court rules in favor of Bond and overturns Missouri v. Holland, all types of non-self-executing treaties could be affected, including international IP agreements.
"A Supreme Court decision overturning, or modifying, Missouri v. Holland … will signal to the world that if the prohibition against the use of chemical weapons can be set aside in certain 'local' instances, then so can US commitments under the WTO or the Patent Cooperation Treaty," Dr. Alexander said.
Read the Article