Why Modularity Does Not (and Should Not) Explain Intellectual Property
Michael A. Carrier
Rutgers Law School
Yale Law Journal Pocket Part, Vol. 117, p. 95, 2007
This five-page essay responds to Henry Smith's article, "Intellectual Property as Property: Delineating Entitlements in Information."
A virtual cottage industry of intellectual property (IP) models has sprung up in recent years. To the mix, Professor Smith adds modularity, in which there are intense interactions within, and few interactions between, components.
Before displacing more traditional explanations, however, the theory faces substantial obstacles. This essay articulates six such challenges: (1) explaining why modularity should be IP's defining feature, (2) accounting for the roles played by IP statutes and doctrine, (3) specifying clear boundaries for innately imprecise patents and copyrights, (4) justifying discerned differences between patent and copyright, (5) rationalizing the enhanced injunctive relief suggested by the model, and (6) proving the game is worth a new empirical candle.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 6
Keywords: intellectual property, property, modularity, patents, copyrights
JEL Classification: K10, K11, O30, O31, O34
Date posted: February 4, 2008