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Working Paper No. 177. The dominant Law and Economics paradigm regarding “Intellectual Property” – a vehicle or an obstacle for innovation, growth and progress?

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Working Paper No. 177.
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Abstract

The term “intellectual property” is a relatively a modern term, first used in its current meaning when the UN established the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1967. Beforehand laws around the world protected various aspects of informational goods – inventions and creations – using separate legal concepts, such as copyright, patents and trademarks, which were not perceived as property rights. This linguistic aspect is by no means anecdotal or marginal as it can be argued that the term “intellectual property” constituted its contemporary meaning including the economic analysis of informational goods and services, as can be demonstrated by the recent call to treat trade secrets not as a contractual agreement but as intellectual property (Epstein, 2005). This paper focuses on the normative analysis of IP rights and criticizes the implicit shift in economic analysis of IP from the incentives paradigm, which is founded upon the public good analysis of neo-classical micro-economic theory, to the new propriety paradigm, which is intellectually founded upon the tragedy of the commons literature. It further criticizes the dominant contemporary Law and Economics writings in this field as pre-assuming information to be an object of property, overlooking its fundamental differences from physical property and thus focusing on its management and maximization of value for its “owners” rather than on its initial justifications and its social value and contribution to innovation, growth and progress.

Working Paper No. 177. Salzberger, Eli (2011). ”The dominant Law and Economics paradigm regarding “Intellectual Property” – a vehicle or an obstacle for innovation, growth and progress?”

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Working Paper No. 177. The dominant Law and Economics paradigm regarding “Intellectual Property” – a vehicle or an obstacle for innovation, growth and progress?
Working paperPublication
Salzberger, E.
Publication year

2011

Published in

Ratio Working Paper

Abstract

The term “intellectual property” is a relatively a modern term, first used in its current meaning when the UN established the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1967. Beforehand laws around the world protected various aspects of informational goods – inventions and creations – using separate legal concepts, such as copyright, patents and trademarks, which were not perceived as property rights. This linguistic aspect is by no means anecdotal or marginal as it can be argued that the term “intellectual property” constituted its contemporary meaning including the economic analysis of informational goods and services, as can be demonstrated by the recent call to treat trade secrets not as a contractual agreement but as intellectual property (Epstein, 2005). This paper focuses on the normative analysis of IP rights and criticizes the implicit shift in economic analysis of IP from the incentives paradigm, which is founded upon the public good analysis of neo-classical micro-economic theory, to the new propriety paradigm, which is intellectually founded upon the tragedy of the commons literature. It further criticizes the dominant contemporary Law and Economics writings in this field as pre-assuming information to be an object of property, overlooking its fundamental differences from physical property and thus focusing on its management and maximization of value for its “owners” rather than on its initial justifications and its social value and contribution to innovation, growth and progress.

Working Paper No. 177. The dominant Law and Economics paradigm regarding “Intellectual Property” – a vehicle or an obstacle for innovation, growth and progress?
Working paperPublication
Salzberger, E.
Publication year

2011

Published in

Ratio Working Paper

Abstract

The term “intellectual property” is a relatively a modern term, first used in its current meaning when the UN established the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1967. Beforehand laws around the world protected various aspects of informational goods – inventions and creations – using separate legal concepts, such as copyright, patents and trademarks, which were not perceived as property rights. This linguistic aspect is by no means anecdotal or marginal as it can be argued that the term “intellectual property” constituted its contemporary meaning including the economic analysis of informational goods and services, as can be demonstrated by the recent call to treat trade secrets not as a contractual agreement but as intellectual property (Epstein, 2005). This paper focuses on the normative analysis of IP rights and criticizes the implicit shift in economic analysis of IP from the incentives paradigm, which is founded upon the public good analysis of neo-classical micro-economic theory, to the new propriety paradigm, which is intellectually founded upon the tragedy of the commons literature. It further criticizes the dominant contemporary Law and Economics writings in this field as pre-assuming information to be an object of property, overlooking its fundamental differences from physical property and thus focusing on its management and maximization of value for its “owners” rather than on its initial justifications and its social value and contribution to innovation, growth and progress.

Ratio Working Paper No. 349: Industrial conflict in essential services in a new era – Swedish rules in a comparative perspective
Working paperPublication
Karlson, N.
Publication year

2021

Published in

Ratio Working Paper

Abstract

This paper examines whether the Swedish regulatory system of dealing with industrial conflicts that affect essential services need an update or reform. Are the existing rules effective in a world where many essential services are upheld by many interdependent agents in complex systems where every single node becomes critical for the functioning of the system, and where the essential service activities could be either private or public? A comparative study is conducted with the corresponding regulatory systems of the United Kingdom, Germany, and Denmark.
The conclusion is that Sweden is a special case. The Swedish protection against and readiness in dealing with societally harmful industrial conflicts in essential services is weaker than in the countries of comparison. Just as in relation to other threats to essential services, it is not sustainable to claim that just because such a threat is not currently present, there would be no need for preparedness.
There are many alternative ways to handle this. Desirable methods should both prevent harmful conflicts from erupting and end conflicts that have grown harmful to society at a later stage. The labour market organisations should have a mutual interest in reforming the rules.

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