Economic and Social Justice Perspectives
Edited by Anne Flanagan and Maria Lillà Montagnani
Intellectual Property Law: Economic and Social Justice Perspectives: Introduction
Anne Flanagan and Maria Lillà Montagnani Intellectual property (IP) is deemed grounded in economics incentives and societal balancing of rights to fruits of one’s own labour, personality and good name with others’ interests in knowledge, progress and their by-products. Such foundations have underpinned the granting of patents, trademarks and copyrights (as well as the development of trade secret and industrial design laws) for centuries. Yet the recognition that intellectual property in the form of literature, science, knowledge and its fair dissemination and access to knowledge has a broader role to play in the development of all individuals as well as the fabric of society and democracy is not novel, although some would label it ‘neo-liberal’. This is made clear by the declaration on the role of law in this regard and the duty of policymakers to foster it made by John Adams, then future president, during a time when the United States of America could legitimately be called a developing country. Contained in the first Massachusett’s state constitution of 1780, entitled ‘Encouragement of Literature, etc.’ this unique and then radical constitutional provision states:1 Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of...