For whom does IP work?

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2 Responses

  1. A.J. Sutter says:

    Apropos of “How (when and why) does the corporate interest so greatly diverge from the individual’s interest[?]”: the short answer is that under the current Zeitgesit, corporations are run for the benefit of their shareholders. Power to vote shares, earn dividends, and to earn capital gains from their sale, is concentrated in a relatively small number of organizations and individuals. Moreover, the sums at stake in the financial economy — even in the economy of equity securities alone — is far huger than the part of the economy to which IP directly contributes. (See my comment to Maxine Eichner’s September 10 guest post on this blog for a few specifics.) This situation is something IP law isn’t at all sufficient to change, even in conjunction with company law — it involves the politics of wealth and much else.

    From another point of view, one could say it’s the wrong question. I think one might extrapolate from Prof Sunder’s book that we shouldn’t be worried only about reconciling corporate and individual interests, but also include societal interests at several levels. Or else, à la the Machiavelli of the Discorsi, we should just accept that these various interests will usually conflict, and try to find ways to keep that conflict bounded and even fruitful. Again, too big for IP law alone. Surgeons are said to think that cutting people is always the way to make them well; IP academics might do well to avoid their own version of that professional fallacy.

  2. that's vaptastic says:

    Just a technical comment: this post needs the “goods to a good life” tag that the others have, so that it displays along with all the other symposium posts. Thanks!