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Series

SSRN

Columbia Law School

Intellectual Property Law

1998

Articles 1 - 2 of 2

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Tragedy Of The Anticommons: Property In The Transition From Marx To Markets, Michael Heller Jan 1998

The Tragedy Of The Anticommons: Property In The Transition From Marx To Markets, Michael Heller

Faculty Scholarship

Why are many storefronts in Moscow empty while street kiosks in front are full of goods? This article develops a theory of anticommons property to help explain the puzzle of empty storefronts and full kiosks. Anticommons property can be understood as the mirror image of commons property. By definition, in a commons, multiple owners are each endowed with the privilege to use a given resource, and no one has the right to exclude another. When too many owners hold such privileges of use, the resource is prone to overuse – a tragedy of the commons. Depleted fisheries and overgrazed fields are ...


Can Patents Deter Innovation? The Anticommons In Biomedical Research, Michael Heller, Rebecca S. Eisenberg Jan 1998

Can Patents Deter Innovation? The Anticommons In Biomedical Research, Michael Heller, Rebecca S. Eisenberg

Faculty Scholarship

The "tragedy of the commons" metaphor helps explain why people overuse shared resources. However, the recent proliferation of intellectual property rights in biomedical research suggests a different tragedy, an "anticommons" in which people underuse scarce resources because too many owners can block each other. Privatization of biomedical research must be more carefully deployed to sustain both upstream research and downstream product development. Otherwise, more intellectual property rights may lead paradoxically to fewer useful products for improving human health.