Abstract and Keywords
This chapter introduces the law of intellectual property (IP) and its treatment in the Handbook. It begins by considering the different ways and traditions of thinking about IP, the range of subject matter that IP rights protect, and the nature and scope of those rights themselves, including the variety of third-party exceptions to them. It then outlines the domestic, regional, and international laws that comprise the modern IP field, the diverse social and economic forces that motivate those laws, and the variety of actors and institutions involved in shaping them. Finally, it introduces the structure of the Handbook and summarizes each of its individual contributions. The result is an accessible overview of one of the most rich, complex, and important fields of law today, including its social and normative foundations, its emergence and development in different jurisdictions and regions, its substantive rules and principles, and its political economy.
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