Kritika: Essays on Intellectual Property

Kritika: Essays on Intellectual Property

Volume 1

Kritika: Essays on Intellectual Property

Edited by Peter Drahos, Gustavo Ghidini and Hanns Ullrich

The field of intellectual property has broadened and deepened in so many ways, and at such pace, that there is a tendency for academic commentators to focus on the next new thing, or to react immediately to judicial developments, rather than to reflect more deeply on the greater themes of the discipline. The Kritika: Essays on Intellectual Property series is a series of books that are designed to fulfill this role by creating a forum for essays that take a critical, long-term approach to the field of intellectual property. Breaking down the barriers of specialization, and laying the foundation for an emergent critical scholarship, this first book in the series brings together the leading scholars in the field to reflect deeply on the current state and future of their discipline.

Chapter 5: Intellectual property: The global spread of a legal concept

Alexander Peukert

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law

Abstract

Although intellectual property law is a distinctively Western, modern, and relatively young body of law, it has spread all over the world, now encompassing all but a very few outsiders such as Afghanistan, Somalia, and Vanuatu. This chapter presents three legal transfers that contributed to this development: first, from real property in land and movables to intellectual property in the late eighteenth century in Western Europe; second, from Western Europe, in particular from the United Kingdom and France to the rest of the world during the colonial era in the nineteenth and early twentieth century; third, from the protection of new knowledge to the protection of traditional knowledge, held by indigenous communities in developing countries, on 5 August 1963. This story illuminates how legal transfers in a broad sense – including, but not limited to legal transplants – drive the evolution of law.

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