Concepts, Actors and Practices from the Past to the Present
Queen Mary Studies in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Stathis Arapostathis and Graham Dutfield
This book offers original perspectives on knowledge management as viewed through the lens of history. It illustrates a diversity of possible management approaches, which can be placed along a continuum from highly formal public law strategies to far more informal ones. By formal, we mean ones that rely on statutory law and contract and tend to be based on the use of intellectual property (IP) protection, especially patents. Informal strategies take advantage of the fact that those in possession of valuable knowledge, irrespective of whether the law recognises them as its owners, can deploy practices that nonetheless enable them to take secure control of it. Secrecy is extremely important in this respect. Secrecy has a dual nature and thus arguably occupies more than one location along the continuum. While it is generally informal at the everyday level, international law protects ‘undisclosed information’ including know-how that may be essential to a manufacturing process. Such formalised protection is of course subject to certain conditions. It hardly needs to be said that successful knowledge management depends on the effectiveness of the practices adopted. But it is worth saying that these in turn are influenced by – and themselves may influence – the shifting and evolving business innovation culture, the opportunities offered by the legal and regulatory environments, and the existence, or absence, of moral economies shaping that culture. Given the high financial stakes and the social welfare impacts of technology diffusion, intangible asset management continues to attract legal scholars, philosophers, historians, business and innovation analysts and policy makers.