Intellectual property/Talk

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I suppose there's a place for this commentary somewhere; at least it's interesting enough that I didn't want to delete it:

The Icelandic word for property is the same as cattle, "fe". A corporation is a cattle-team, fe-lag. As an opposite to this bovine stupidity, most new companies on Iceland and elsewhere are now based on intellectual property such as trade secrets, patents, copyright, and trademarks.

The first statement claims that law treats intellectual property rights as "property". Is that completely true? For instance, if I steal your patent, will I be prosecuted for theft of property?

Also, if you own something, you own it forever; intellectual property rights are often granted temprarily only.

I think they qualify as property in the sense that they can be bought, sold and rented. But in other respects, they are unlike physical property and don't enjoy as much protection. For example, with intellectual property, you often have to sue in civil court if it was "stolen", but with physical property, the state does the dirty work for you. --AxelBoldt

'IP' isn't property under any law I know. Breaking somebody's IP is nowhere prosecuted under theft laws. IP is limited temportary monopoly, similar examples are ex-state ex-monopolies have in some countries. For example in Poland, TPSA has temportary monopoly for some phone services. That's something similar. --Taw

Police and customs agents certainly enforce intellectually property rights when the impound goods for copywrite infringement like video and cd piracy, imitation trademarked goods, etc. And I presume that those caught are prosecuted, not just sued. --rmhermen

I am not sure that a "trade secret" should be included as intellectually property in the same way as patents, trademarks and copyrights. Patents, trademarks and copyrights are all rights governed by legal statutes and conventions as to nature and time of protection. All allow the owners to sue in a court of law someone who violates these rights. A "trade secret" by it's very nature is something which is protected by not being disclosed. If someone finds out, it is by definition no longer a secret. The protection of a "trade secret" is through contract law - and that only applies to those parties agreeing to a contract. I do note that online some lawyers do seem to refer to "trade secret" as intellectually property and make the case that people can be prosecuted for unauthorized disclosure of a "trade secret".

I think that it might be useful here to have some discussion of the history of intellectually property law - both in the United States and in other countries.

Trade secrets are not exclusively protected by contracts: there are also laws on the books protecting trade secrets. For instance, if you get a letter by mistake containing the secret formula used for Coca Cola, then you are not allowed to publish that letter. --AxelBoldt

Some people use the phrase "some people" too much. --LMS