Legal Incentives to Promote Innovation at Work: A Critical Analysis

Economic and Labour Relations Review, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2010

U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 526

30 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2011

See all articles by Chris Dent

Chris Dent

Murdoch University - School of Law

Colin Fenwick

University of Melbourne - Law School

Kirsten Newitt

Ergon Associates

Date Written: February 16, 2011

Abstract

The allocation of any benefit that arises from worker-generated innovation is complicated by the importance of three separate areas of law - employment law, intellectual property law and equity - and the distinction between those types of innovation that attract intellectual property rights and those that don’t (a category that is often referred to as “know-how”). The purpose of this article is to engage with the legal scholarship on the principles that are relevant to innovation. To date, the discussion has focused on two distinct approaches - what may be termed the economic and the fairness perspectives. The former may be seen as a justification for the current regime, while the latter has focused on the perceived needs of workers (in large part in opposition to the employers). Our argument is that these two approaches are both incomplete. In an attempt to get closer to a workable framework for the effective allocation of benefits, we offer a third approach; one that is based on the practices that are central to the employer-worker relationship.

Keywords: employment law, intellectual property law, equity law, innovation

JEL Classification: K00, K31, K39

Suggested Citation

Dent, Chris and Fenwick, Colin and Newitt, Kirsten, Legal Incentives to Promote Innovation at Work: A Critical Analysis (February 16, 2011). Economic and Labour Relations Review, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2010, U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 526, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1762946

Chris Dent (Contact Author)

Murdoch University - School of Law ( email )

United States

Colin Fenwick

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Kirsten Newitt

Ergon Associates ( email )

Australia

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