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An Economic Analysis of Intellectual Property Rights


Steve Calandrillo


University of Washington - School of Law


Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 9, pp. 301-60, 1998

Abstract:     
This article examines and questions the traditional justifications for intellectual property (I.P.) rights in America (focusing on copyright and patent law), and explores incentives necessary to induce the creation of these works of information. I conclude that changes are needed to I.P. law in order to best foster society's dual goals of 1) promoting incentives to create I.P. works (such as currently patented drugs), while also 2) maximizing distribution of those products to all consumers who would stand to gain (and not merely those who can afford the monopoly price charged).

Hence, I suggest the creation of a Government-Run Reward System to best serve both of society's goals: incentives + distribution. Under the reward system, innovators would be paid directly by the government for their intellectual property creations. In turn, their works would pass immediately into the public domain so that they are freely reproducible and distributable at their marginal cost of production (rather than the monopoly price which prevails under patent and copyright law today). In its ideal form, the reward system thereby allows for both socially optimal creation and distribution of intellectual property works, eliminating the deadweight social loss that plagues us today.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

Keywords: intellectual property, reward, economic analysis, I.P., rights, government reward system

JEL Classification: A10, A12, K00, K10, K11, D23, G38, D78

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Date posted: April 9, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Calandrillo, Steve, An Economic Analysis of Intellectual Property Rights. Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 9, pp. 301-60, 1998. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=693983

Contact Information

Steve Calandrillo (Contact Author)
University of Washington - School of Law ( email )
William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98195-3020
United States
206-685-2403 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.washington.edu/Faculty/Calandrillo/

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