top law professors spread “IP” confusion

Henry E. Smith:

Intellectual property rights are conventionally said to solve an incentive problem but not an allocation problem. (pdf page 3)

Those who favor treating copyright, patents, and trademarks as property tend to use the vague and misleading term “Intellectual Property” when trying to persuade others toward their line of thinking. This leads to overgeneralization, thus breeding confusion. Trademark law isn’t about incentives. It’s a stamp of approval to protect consumers, not a solution to an “incentive problem”.

Via Zohar.

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4 Responses to “top law professors spread “IP” confusion”

  1. IP freely Says:

    If a trademark provides for more incentive, the amount is negligible but it could be argued that that element is present in some cases. But for sure, trademark law does not exist in order to “solve an incentive problem”. That statement is more appropriate with copyright and patent law. And then there’s the question of whether or not the “incentive problem” is really a problem at all. But that’s a different discussion.

  2. gnuosphere Says:

    And if trademark law has the same objective as patent and copyright law, then why doesn’t it expire?

    Perhaps Henry Smith would argue that this is true and that is why he said “conventionally”. However, just because something said is popular doesn’t make it OK to identify a logical fallacy with “convention”. This is a common mistake, not a reasonably accepted way of conversing.

  3. Climate and network connections « Global Warming Blog Says:

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  4. Sometimes I hate my newsreader « A Man With A Ph.D. Says:

    […] bloggers have dubbed the process through which such arguments spread as ‘dispersion of confusion‘, which does not follow a simple diffusion law, but exhibits strange characteristics in addition […]

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