Formally, ownership of ideas is legally impossible, and can never be globally secured. Yet, in very real and significant ways these limits have been undone. In principle, ideas cannot be owned, yet, undoing the distinction between ideas and tangible manifestations, the distinction which underpins the principle, allows the principle to hold even whilst its meaning is hollowed out. Post–Cold War global network capitalism is premised upon regulatory structures designed to enforce deregulation in global markets and production, but at the same time to enforce global regulation of property and intellectual property in particular. However, this roll–out has not been without resistance and limitations. Globalization, the affordances of digital networks, and contradiction within capitalism itself – between private property and free markets – promote and undo global IP expansion. In this book David and Halbert map the rise of global IP protectionism, debunk the key justifications given for IPRs, dismiss the arguments put forward for global extension and harmonization; and suggest that roll–back, suspension, and even simply the bi–passing of IP in practice offer better solutions for promoting innovation and meeting human needs.

Trademark, Designs and Identifiers in Question

Trademark, Designs and Identifiers in Question

Global network capitalism’s outsourcing of the production of luxury goods separates production and composition of a product from the trademarks such objects carry. The trademark as embodied by the brand seeks to associate a positive image with the product and to detach the brand from any moral or legal implications related to its production such as the exploitation of sweatshop labour and environmental harm. Detachment of production from symbolic mark and meaning, as well as from action and moral consequence, is mirrored in the pirate capitalism of counterfeiters and the reflexive consumption of ‘fakes’. In both cases the brand (‘authentic’ or fake) obscures the conditions of production (alienation) and encourages uncritical consumption based ...

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