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The Social Function of Intellectual Property Rights, or How Ethics can Influence the Shape and Use of IP Law


Christophe Geiger


Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI) - University of Strasbourg; Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

March 4, 2013

Graeme .B. Dinwoodie (ed.), 'Intellectual Property Law: Methods and Perspectives', Cheltenham, UK/Northampton, MA, Edward Elgar, 2013, pp. 153-176
Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property & Competition Law Research Paper No. 13-06

Abstract:     
The social function is inherent to any legal rule. It allows for the rights of individuals to be weighed against competing rights. Being part of a broader legal system, these rights must always be put in context with other rights of equal value and with collective interests. Insisting on the social function of intellectual property rights thus amounts to identifying a need for moderation and balance in their conception and implementation - a need that has sometimes been lost sight of in recent developments. Therefore, taking into closer consideration the social function of intellectual property rights might help counter and mitigate certain expansionist tendencies in current legislation. In a time when intellectual property rights are facing a serious crisis of legitimacy, the restoration of their social function puts universal ethical principles at the heart of the debate, which can only in the long term contribute to re-establishing their public acceptance.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 22

Keywords: Ethics, Functions of Intellectual Propery Rights, Philosophy of Law, Social Bounds of IP, Competition Law, Abuse/Misuse of Rights, Fundamental Rights

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Date posted: March 14, 2013 ; Last revised: March 13, 2014

Suggested Citation

Geiger, Christophe, The Social Function of Intellectual Property Rights, or How Ethics can Influence the Shape and Use of IP Law (March 4, 2013). Graeme .B. Dinwoodie (ed.), 'Intellectual Property Law: Methods and Perspectives', Cheltenham, UK/Northampton, MA, Edward Elgar, 2013, pp. 153-176; Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property & Competition Law Research Paper No. 13-06. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2228067

Contact Information

Christophe Geiger (Contact Author)
Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI) - University of Strasbourg ( email )
11 rue de Maréchal Juin
BP68
Strasbourg Cedex, 67046
France
HOME PAGE: www.ceipi.edu
Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )
Marstallplatz 1
Munich, 80539
Germany
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