Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Monday, December 19, 2005

On Protection for "Embryonic Ideas"

Oren Bar-Gill, New York University School of Law, and Gideon Parchomovsky, University of Pennsylvania School of Law, have published "A Marketplace for Ideas?" in volume 84 of the Texas Law Review. It is also available via download from SSRN.

Traditionally, patent protection extended only to full-fledged inventions. In recent years, however, the legal landscape has changed. Patent law is gradually extending its reach to cover "embryonic inventions," and even naked ideas. This Essay has two goals. The first is to present an economic case against extending property rights to embryonic inventions and ideas. Specifically, this Essay argues that property rights in ideas will hinder technological progress. This Essay's second goal is to propose an alternative legal regime that would enhance innovation. To this end, this Essay contemplates the possibility of formalizing a very limited and narrow legal entitlement in ideas in order to establish a marketplace where ideas may be exchanged. After rejecting existing models of property and intellectual property protection as the foundation for a market for ideas, we propose an original market design that could enhance innovation without impoverishing the public domain

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