Research Handbook on Art and Law
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Research Handbook on Art and Law

Edited by Jani McCutcheon and Fiona McGaughey

Featuring international contributions from leading and emerging scholars, this innovative Research Handbook presents a panoramic view of how law sees visual art, and how visual art sees law. It resists the conventional approach to art and law as inherently dissonant – one a discipline preoccupied with rationality, certainty and objectivity; the other a creative enterprise ensconced in the imaginary and inviting multiple, unique and subjective interpretations. Blending these two distinct disciplines, this unique Research Handbook bridges the gap between art and law.
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Chapter 7: Patentability and fine art

Michael Blakeney


This chapter investigates whether fine art can or should be protected by patent law. The investigation commences with a brief examination of the history and philosophy of patenting to see the extent to which patenting might embrace fine art. It discusses the evolution of the concept of ‘manner of manufacture’ as the touchstone of a patentable invention in the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia. It is suggested that this genesis spawned the distinction between unpatentable fine art and patentable useful art. A comparison is made with the amplitude of United States’ (US) patent law, which has embraced the patenting of artistic methods and artists’ requisites. The article concludes with a description of the way in which the evolution of contemporary art has embraced the patenting process as an ingredient of the genre.

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