Michael Burstein on information exchange and IP law

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May 22, 2012

Michael Burstein, assistant professor of law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, discusses his paper entitled, Exchanging Information Without Intellectual Property. Burstein begins by discussing theories behind IP law and why it exists. According to Burstein, IP law incentivizes creation of intellectual works because it protects the creator’s investment by preventing others from copying the work and obtaining a benefit without any effort. He then goes on to discuss the critiques of these theories, the costs that are involved in protecting intellectual works, and the effect IP law has on innovation. Burstein then discusses practical examples in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry where actors structure the flow of information in a way that is reciprocal but only requires a small role from IP law. According to Burstein, norms protect intellectual works. He believes these norms allow disclosure of intellectual works in stages and facilitate a trusting relationship between two firms. Burstein ends the discussion by addressing policy conclusions surrounding IP law and what role it should play in information exchange.

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