Most all nations recognize the need to protect intellectual property in some form due to its potential value. In 1994, the signatory nations of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade signed the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), an ambitious international convention that set forth an international baseline for patent, copyright, and trademark protection. In addition to providing procedures for the settlement of property disputes, one practical effect of TRIPs has been the harmonization of the world's patent laws. In 1994, the United States passed the Uruguay Round Agreement Act, legislation that implemented several changes to domestic patent law required by TRIPs. Although opinions, especially those of developing nations, debate the fairness of TRIPs, the Agreement represents an effective balance among competing interests and a m~or step towards world patent law harmonization.