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Intellectual Property Law

Columbia Law School

Patent

2005

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Intellectual Property, Innovation, And Decentralized Decisions, Tim Wu Jan 2005

Intellectual Property, Innovation, And Decentralized Decisions, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

This essay proposes a new way to assess the desirability of intellectual property rights.

Traditionally, intellectual property assignment is assessed based on a incentive/monopoly pricing tradeoff. I suggest they should be further assessed by their effects on the decision architectures surrounding the property right – their effects on how firms make product innovation decisions. The reason is that different decisional structures for product development can be are fundamental to the performance of firms, industries, and even the economy as a whole.

The organizational economics literature can help with this assessment. It makes an important and useful distinction between hierarchical (centralized ...