Duty, Consequences, & Intellectual Property
17 Pages Posted: 2 May 2013 Last revised: 22 May 2014
Date Written: April 30, 2013
Drawing on Amartya Sen's discussion of The Bhagavad Gita and Hindu concepts of justice (niti and nyaya), this paper examines ethical issues related to the construction of intellectual property policy. The author analyzes deontic, or duty based, and consequentialist theories of law within the context of the debate between Arjuna and Krishna in The Gita. With respect to intellectual property, the author proposes a consequentialist theory of intellectual property based on the duties owed by an owner to other persons. This ethical theory is illustrated through the legal treatment of patents on medical diagnostics (Prometheus v Mayo) as well as on through the doctrines of fair use and first sale. This paper was prepared for a symposium on IP & Religious Thought at University of St Thomas Law School (Minnesota), held April 5, 2013.
Keywords: Intellectual Property, Ethics, Consequentialism, Hindu Religious Thought
JEL Classification: K11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation