Elgar Law and Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Shubha Ghosh and Robin Paul Malloy
Chapter 6: The Central Role of Law as a Meta Method in Creativity and Entrepreneurship
Sean M. O’Connor INTRODUCTION A core theme of traditional intellectual property (IP) law, policy and scholarship is a focus on the role of IP as an incentive for the creation of inventions and artistic works. However, this story has never made much sense as many scientists, technologists, artists and artisans create for purposes other than the IP rights they may receive. But it also belies an unfortunate fixation on artifacts as the locus of human ingenuity. This chapter proposes that instead it is the methods of innovation that are the true locus of human progress. From an historical perspective, one finds that the scientific revolution was a revolution in methods of inquiry, just as the Renaissance was a revolution in methods of artistic and artisanal activities. In fact, these overlapping pivotal developments in western history now seem to be largely the result of a fruitful cross-pollination of methods from different fields (art utilizing developments in math and science and vice versa). The innovation did not stop with methods of direct production of artistic, artisanal, scientific or technological works however. Perhaps most important from a long term perspective, the revolution in methods of the Renaissance and Early Modern periods also generated ‘meta methods’ to create a supportive infrastructure not only for the creation of these kinds of new works and artifacts, but also for the successful development and dissemination/ distribution of useful or usable embodiments of them. Thus this period saw the creation of modern patent and copyright systems, as well...
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