Econ 205

Intellectual Property

copyrights and patents

Copyright protects expression but not ideas.

Characteristics such as of superman, are included in copyright.

Why not forever copyright? Why not zero?

Copyright in a pure free market?

Copyright as a contract.

Long time and easty to get, because

easy to define, cheap to enforce.

Patents protect ideas but not expressions.

Hard to define and enforce.

Fair use in copyright: no permission needed.

Depends on the purpose, amount copied, effect on revenue.

Manuscripts have an automatic copyright.

Copyright creates a right that is easy to define. It is for a long time.

95 years from publication for corporations.

person: life + 70 years.

Patent creates a right that is hard to define and enforce. It is for a shorter time.

Novel, non-obvious, useful, not frivolous or injurious.

20 years.

Most intellectual property rights are alienable,

i.e. they may be sold, leased, donated or bequeathed

Problem of two independent inventors creating the same idea.

Patents invite privilege seeking.

Trade secret: information whose value depends on secrecy.

Property right permits the owner to collect damages from thieves.

A wider application than patent law.

Trade secret law is a branch of contract law.

Once the formula (or whatever) is published, non-contracting parties can use it without charge.


Trademarks are registered in order to prevent a competitor from selling his product as if it were that of another.

“Passing off” trademarks is a common law tort which can be used to enforce unregistered trademark rights.

Publicity rights (which, together with privacy rights, constitute personality rights).

The right of publicity prevents the unauthorized commercial use of an individual's name, likeness, or other recognizable aspects of one's persona.

It gives an individual the exclusive right to license the use of their identity for commercial promotion.

Trade dress refers to characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging (or even the facade of a building such as a restaurant) that may be registered and protected from being used by competitors in the manner of a trademark.

Droit de suite (French for "right to follow") is a right granted to artists or their heirs, in some jurisdictions, to receive a fee on the resale of their works of art.

“Moral rights” include the right of attribution, the right to have a work published anonymously or pseudonymously, and the right to the integrity of the work. Preserving the integrity of the work bars the work from alteration, distortion or mutilation. In the United States, the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) recognizes moral rights, but only applies to works of visual art.