Intellectual Property, Entrepreneurship and Social Justice
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Intellectual Property, Entrepreneurship and Social Justice

From Swords to Ploughshares

Edited by Lateef Mtima

In the Information Age, historically marginalized groups and developing nations continue to strive for socio-economic empowerment within the global community. Their ultimate success largely depends upon their ability to develop, protect, and exploit their greatest natural resource: intellectual property. Through an exploration of the techniques used in social entrepreneurship, Intellectual Property, Entrepreneurship and Social Justice provides a framework by which historically marginalized communities and developing nations can cooperate with the developed world to establish a socially cohesive global intellectual property order. The knowledgeable contributors discuss, in four parts, topics surrounding entrepreneurship and empowerment, education and advocacy, engagement and activism and, finally, commencement.
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Chapter 3: Intellectual property as an essential 21st century business asset

Valerie Rawlston Wilson


In Chapter 1 of this book, the social justice theory of intellectual property law was introduced as one that “acknowledges socially equitable inclusion, access, and empowerment as fundamental objectives of intellectual property protection”. Further, it was suggested that this theory should be operationalized through the construction of a social action platform, ideally modeled after the American Civil Rights Movement, and “similarly directed toward the frustrations with (i) the perennial lack of individual economic opportunities and (ii) the historic and ongoing misappropriation of inner-city urban and other indigenous culture and knowledge, and presented as an avenue toward personal economic autonomy and communal socio-economic empowerment”. In 2013, as the United States of America marked the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a watershed moment for the Civil Rights Movement, we were led to reflect both on the victories won through that movement and the challenges that still remain. In fact, in the 50 years since the March on Washington, the three-pronged strategy of the Civil Rights Movement – legal action, social activism and individual empowerment – has effectively improved access to educational and employment opportunities that have raised the standard of living for many of those who have been historically marginalized, including countless African Americans. Since 1963, the percentage of blacks with a college degree has increased five-fold while the percentage of blacks living in poverty has fallen by nearly half.

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