Intellectual Property Rights: Protection or Monopolization?
Intellectual Property Rights: Protection or Monopolization? Definition of Intellectual Property Intellectual property: any unique product of the human intellect that has
commercial value. Examples of intellectual property: books, songs, movies, paintings, inventions, chemical formulas, and computer programs. Forms of Intellectual Property Patent - a way the U.S. government provides an inventor with an exclusive right to a piece of intellectual property.
Copyright - how the U.S. government provides authors with certain rights to original works that they have written. Trademark - a word, symbol, picture, sound, color, or smell used by a business to identify goods. Trade Secret - a confidential piece of intellectual property that provides a company with a competitive advantage.
History of Intellectual Property Medieval Times: monopolies held on inventions. 1474: First law regarding inventors passed in Venice. 1642: English Parliament passes Statute of Monopolies. 1844: French Patent Law
U.S. Patent History Colonies used English Statute of Monopolies Constitution provides basis for Federal Patent Laws. First U.S. Patent act passed in 1790 An Act to promote the Progress of Useful Arts
U.S. Patent Office opened in 1836 as part of the State Department. First U.S. Patent History of Software Patents 1970s: No protection if a calculation made by a computer.
1980s: Supreme court declares computerized inventions are patentable. 1990s: Federal court declares almost all software is patentable. Advantages to Society Promotes Innovation and advancement in technology. Allows inventors and innovators to profit
from their inventions. Disadvantages to Society Copyright systems were designed for an era in which it was difficult to create copies. The purpose of the copyright system is to promote progress, not to make the authors rich. Cooperation is more important then
copyright. Individuals may benefit from having IP rights to an idea even if it is not used by society. Ethical Reasons Supporting IPR Utilitarian Argument: Society benefits from allowing another person to monopolize their own ideas. Natural rights: Each individual has a
natural right to benefit from their own thoughts and ideas. Consequentialist: It is against breaking the law by copying copyrighted material and software. Doing so is wrong under most ethical systems. Ethical Reasons Against IP Rights
What is considered fair use? Open Source Common Knowledge An organization must be careful not to violate the copyrights held by its competitors. Future of Intellectual Property
Short Term: More legislation and laws. Long term: Restrictions on IP will most likely fade.
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