Intellectual Property

Oxford University Press, 2007

Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20/2007

Posted: 3 Oct 2007

See all articles by Michael J. Spence

Michael J. Spence

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law


This book offers a core concept of intellectual property, considers a range of justifications for the recognition of intellectual property rights, and explores their operation in a number of key areas.

It is essential to consider both the concept of intellectual property and the reasons why a legal system might incorporate such a concept. We are increasingly told that the wealth of nations consists in intangible assets. These are the intangible products of human creativity, ingenuity, and effort. It is frequently argued that these assets represent the future of developed economies and that their adequate protection by intellectual property regimes is essential to national, regional, and even global prosperity. We are also told that the creators of such assets have a strong moral claim to them, and that developed legal systems should recognize this claim.

This text examines the ethical issues and debates surrounding intellectual property law and focuses on three aspects of the major intellectual property regimes: subject matter; the allocation of the first ownership of rights; and the scope of protection. By exploring these three issues, this book provides a strong sense of the shape and purpose of the most important intellectual property systems.

Suggested Citation

Spence, Michael J., Intellectual Property. Oxford University Press, 2007, Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20/2007, Available at SSRN:

Michael J. Spence (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

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