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Intellectual Property Or Intellectual Rent?

August 5, 2008

The problem with Intellectual Property (IP), it seems to me, is that it is very strange kind of property: one that is neither bought nor sold! How does government decide what should be patented and what shouldn’t? A naive solution would be to require the petitioner to “buy” the new IP right, by “trading in” an old IP right. This mechanism would at least keep in check possible hyper-inflation of IP rights. What am I doing wrong?

Update: Well, I was too quick. IP rights are indeed bought and sold, so a spontaneous market already exists.

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