New Horizons in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Derek Bosworth and Elizabeth Webster
Chapter 2: A Legal Perspective
Andrew F. Christie 1 INTRODUCTION Intellectual property could be called the Cinderella of the new economy. A drab but useful servant, consigned to the dusty and uneventful ofﬁces of corporate legal departments until the princes of globalisation and technological innovation – revealing her true value – swept her to prominence and gave her an enticing new allure.1 This quote, taken from a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) publication, says much about the state of intellectual property today. After all, it has only been a couple of decades since intellectual property was generally regarded as a rather obscure, but necessary, ﬁeld of legal regulation. In the last few years, however, intellectual property has become recognized as the driving force of economic growth and cultural development. As a result, the law of intellectual property has entered the consciousness of an ever-widening part of the public, and is increasingly seen as a matter for public policy as well as for private exploitation. Despite its growing importance, intellectual property remains a challenging area of law. This is because, unlike the laws of real property, the laws of intellectual property create rights between individuals that are vested in abstract objects – being objects that, inherently, are difﬁcult to deﬁne. Furthermore, intellectual property is an ever-expanding ﬁeld, and its role in society has become increasingly signiﬁcant and complex. This is due in part at least to its cultural speciﬁcity, as a regime that is founded on the notion of both knowledge and art as...
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