Intellectual Property: How the Right to Keep it to Yourself Can Facilitate Dissemination

7 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2008  

William J. Baumol

New York University - Stern School of Business, Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies; Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics

Abstract

The fundamental conflict in the goals of intellectual property (IP) policy is the apparent incompatibility of protection of the creator and ease of dissemination. Copyrights and patents seem to favor the first goal and conflict with the second, but patents have actually helped to resolve the conflict by transforming the IP into a tradable commodity. As a result, many patent proprietors actively promote use of their IP by others, even direct competitors. Patent licensing is a major revenue source for many firms. Patent pools institutionalize remunerative sharing of IP. Even from their medieval beginnings, patents were used to encourage dissemination and they continue to serve that purpose directly via disclosure requirements. So, perhaps with some redesign and innovative usage, copyrights can help to reconcile the two apparently conflicting goals - provision of incentives for both creative activity and widespread use of its products.

Keywords: Intellectual Property, Dissemination

Suggested Citation

Baumol, William J., Intellectual Property: How the Right to Keep it to Yourself Can Facilitate Dissemination. Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 17-23, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1144893

William J. Baumol (Contact Author)

New York University - Stern School of Business, Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies ( email )

New York, NY
United States
212-998-8943 (Phone)
212-995-3932 (Fax)

Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics

269 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

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