21st Century Challenges in Intellectual Property and Knowledge Governance
Elgar Intellectual Property and Global Development series
Edited by Dana Beldiman
Chapter 7: Synergetic interaction between intellectual property and consumer protection: a pragmatic proposal to rebalance incentives and access
Since the adoption of ‘Parte Veneziana’, a Venetian law of 1474 which made the first attempt to protect inventions through a form of patent, granting an exclusive right to an individual, and which is considered the root of the Intellectual Property system, IP has been developed as an instrument to both control the quality of the material made public and to regulate trade, preventing works from being pirated. Nowadays, intellectual creations are both cultural goods and commercial goods, protected to the same extent as tangible property and shaped in terms of usage rights. The practice of making over one’s property rights has been abandoned in favour of the practice of enjoying, in a temporary usufruct, services and goods that are exchanged between the supplier and the user in a network relationship. Therefore, in such process, the property of material goods, which was at first the foundation of the industrial economy, becomes less important. While in the market economy there were sellers and buyers, today there are suppliers and users, and transactions have become often strategic alliances, for example, agreements to share resources or profits, thus creating enlarged networks to run one’s business. Intellectual capital, which has an ever-growing importance in the new economic system, is involved in this change of practice, based on temporary use and access to services.
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