Monday, 30 March 2009

Intellectual Property and Industrial Property

In the world of intellectual property, intellectual consolation is always preceded by commercial isolation, or in other words: intellectual consolation always follows commercial isolation. Therefore, intellectual consolation always ensures that commercial isolation stays on its track and will never go beyond its limits.

In the world of intellectual property, the most important historical time-line where intellectual consolation follows commercial isolation can be described as follows:
  • Year 1440: The Printing Press was created by Gutenberg.
  • Year 1557: Queen Mary I of the House of Tudor promulgated the Statute of Mary, pursuant to which the Stationer's Company had enjoyed monopoly to buy manuscripts from authors but once purchased, would have a perpetual monopoly on the printing of the work. Authors themselves were excluded from membership in the company and could not therefore legally self-publish, nor were they given royalties for books that sold well.
  • Year 1710: The first-ever copyright legislation in the world was promulgated by Queen Anne of the House of Stuart, repealing the Statute of Mary. The Statute of Anne vested authors rather than printers with the monopoly on the reproduction of their works. It created a 21 year term for all works already in print at the time of its enactment and a fourteen year term for all works published subsequently. It also required that printers provide nine copies to the Stationer's Company for distribution to the Royal Library, the libraries of Oxford, Cambridge, St. Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Sion College and the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh. When Ireland united with Great Britain in 1801, the Trinity College and Kings' Inns in Dublin were added as two further depositories. Interestingly, the Statute of Anne's long title was: "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned".
  • The term "intellectual property" did not exist until 1767 in the Blackstone's commentary on the Books of Law. The only reason why it took 3 (three) centuries since 1440 for the term "intellectual property" and the idea of copyright to come into existence is that it took that long for literacy to spread and grow enough for printing books and selling them to become a good business proposition. The change was gradual, but it accelerated in 1700s with the quickening rise of commerce and the middle classes.
  • Year 1783: In his book titled "Ueber den Büchernachdruck", Christian Sigmund Krause, a German philosopher wrote (as translated into English):

    "No, no, it is too obvious that the concept of intellectual property is useless. My property is exclusively mine; I must be able to dispose of it and retrieve it unconditionally. Let someone explain to me how that is possible with ideas. Just let someone try taking back the ideas he has originated once they have been communicated so that they are, as before, nowhere to be found. All the money in the world could not make that possible."

  • Year 1883: The Paris Convention on Industrial Property (Patent, Trademark, Industrial Design, Trade Secret), which supports commercial isolation, was signed.
  • Year 1886: The Berne Convention for the Protection of Works in Literary, Artistic and Scientific Domain, which supports intellectual consolation, was signed.

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