Can One Size Fit All?
ATRIP Intellectual Property series
Edited by Annette Kur and Vytautas Mizaras
Annette Kur* 1 Is there a coherent system underlying the entire field of intellectual property (IP), or are the different constituent areas only loosely connected with each other? Have the foundations on which the different rights were originally grounded converged, or are they drifting apart? Does the fact that the law must react to a host of problems characterised by an ever-increasing degree of sophistication necessarily entail fragmentation ultimately leading to inconsistency, or are the principles informing legal choices sustainable enough to provide a solid and resilient frame? Vice versa – are those principles too rigid and inflexible, and therefore incapable of responding to novel challenges? To what extent, and where, should the system make room for more differentiation? Which tools does the law provide for the adjustment of protection to different needs and circumstances, and how much flexibility exists in employing those tools? Can One Size Fit All? The idea of focusing on these and other issues at ATRIP meetings was born out of the Intellectual Property of Transition project, to which Graeme Dinwoodie refers in the first chapter of this book. The clue was taken from two seemingly antagonistic tendencies that were considered characteristic of contemporary IP law. As their overall coverage broadens, legal fields such as patent and copyright law become increasingly compartmentalised: pharmaceutical patents have little in common with patents in ‘classical’ technical fields such as machinery, and copyright in works of fine art is quite another discipline than copyright in news articles or computer programs. In...