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Samir Chopra.

What is Intellectual Property?

He lives in Brooklyn. Brought to you by Curio , an Aeon partner. Edited by Sam Dresser. But what kind of property is this? And why do we refer to such a menagerie with one inclusive term? As a new political economy appeared, so did a new commercial and legal rhetoric. Its use should be resisted.


Under the umbrella of copyright law are original, concrete expressions, not ideas — the same story and script idea can generate many distinct movies, for instance. Patents protect realised inventions and ideas in gestation — eg, here is a new method for collecting rainwater, and this is a machine that does just that.

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Each regime has a public-policy justification: copyright law incentivises the production of creative works, which populate the public domain of culture. Patent law lets inventors and users benefit from the original ideas disclosed in a patent filing, and aims to make research and development economically feasible by producing investment in new technologies and products. Copyright- and patent-holders extract monopoly rent from protected subject matter, or its concrete expression, for a limited period.

Such limited exclusivity is meant to encourage the further production of original expressions and inventions by providing raw materials for other creators and inventors to build on. In the United States, media and technology have been shaped by these laws, and indeed many artists and creators owe their livelihoods to such protections. But recently, in response to the new ways in which the digital era facilitates the creation and distribution of scientific and artistic products, the foundations of these protections have been questioned. The answer to all these questions is no.

And answering the latter question will help to answer the former.

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  4. S tallman is a computer hacker extraordinaire and the fieriest exponent of the free-software movement, which holds that computer users and programmers should be free to copy, share and distribute software source code. This is not merely semantic quibbling. The language in which a political and cultural debate is conducted very often determines its outcome.

    Stallman notes that copyright, patent, trademark and trade secret law were motivated by widely differing considerations. Their intended purposes, the objects covered and the permissible constraints all vary. In fact, knowledge of one body of law rarely carries over to another. Consider the common claim that intellectual property promotes innovation: this is actually true only of patent law.

    Novels are copyrighted even if they are formulaic, and copyright only incentivises the production of new works as public goods while allowing creators to make a living. These limited rights do not address innovations, which is also true of trademark and trade secret law. A general term is useful only if it subsumes related concepts in such a way that semantic value is added.

    Intellectual Property - Practice Areas - Veirano Advogados

    If copyright infringement is alleged, we try to identify the copyrightable concrete expression, the nature of the infringement and so on. Those debating copyright law wonder whether the copying of academic papers should be allowed; patent law is irrelevant here. Those debating patent law wonder whether pharmaceutical companies should have to issue compulsory licences for life-saving drugs to poor countries; copyright law is irrelevant here. It does not mention trademark law or trade secret law. Because it has polemical and rhetorical value.

    The former sounds like a legally resolvable technicality; the latter sounds like an unambiguously sinful act. P roperty is a legally constructed, historically contingent, social fact.

    Intellectual Property Policy

    It is founded on economic and social imperatives to distribute and manage material resources — and, thus, wealth and power. Law defines property. It circumscribes the conditions under which legal subjects may acquire, and properly use and dispose of their property and that of others.

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    Different sets of rules create systems with varying allocations of power for owners and others. Some grants of property rights lock in, preserve and reinforce existing relations of race, class or gender, stratifying society and creating new, entrenched, propertied classes. Law makes property part of our socially constructed reality, reconfigurable if social needs change. Property is made not by the act of mixing labour with fallow land, as John Locke had it in , but by the scaffolding provided by the surrounding legal system.

    Possession and labour — the much-revered foundations of Anglo-American property law — are insufficient to secure property. Land was acquired from Native nations by treaty; the labour of slaves was stolen; women worked, and still do, for free at home, rearing children, cleaning and cooking; adverse possession law shows a tension between possession and use; in family settings, personal arrangements override formal titles.

    Legal systems of property are pragmatic and outcome-oriented.

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    They bring about desired social ends through a historically contingent, evolving blend of rights and duties for owners. If another, better social outcome presents itself, whatever the debate among contending social and political alliances that gave rise to such a notion, we revise our concept of property. The long history of private property usurped for public benefit — in times of war, say, or when building railroads — and the restrictions on the kinds of objects that can be bought and sold, offers adequate testimony for this claim.

    Knowledge and creative works are nonrivalrous, nondepletable goods subject to network effects.

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    But legal protections offered to intellectual property assets are utilitarian grants — they are neither perpetual nor exclusive. Tangible property is said to be perpetual because it is yours till you dispose of it. Their terms are limited and amenable to nonexclusive use. Our professionals are good communicators, they work with you to clearly understand your business objectives and design the best strategy to achieve them.

    They will follow closely the projects, keeping you informed so you can take the right decisions concerning your IP assets. Skip to content Our people Knowledge and Teamwork ABG team of IP professionals combines excellent academic qualifications, extensive technical and legal knowledge, and industry experience. See Professionals of All professionals. We are very proud of our team of professionals: patent attorneys, lawyers, paralegals and support staff. Francisco Bernardo and Juan Arias. ABG Founding Partners.