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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter puts forward a comprehensive framework for evaluating property regimes for both physical and intellectual property resources. It starts with an account of the trade-off between common and private property regimes, noting that the former is appropriate, as a first approximation for resources that facilitate communication and transportation, where holdout problems dominate externality constraints. But where high levels of investment are needed, and coordination problems are low, private property, as bounded by laws of trespass, nuisance and infringement now tend to dominate. There are no rules of acquisition for an open-access regime. But for private property in all its forms, the common and civil law rules of occupation avoid virtually all the complications that stem from Locke’s erroneous labor theory of acquisition. The chapter then explores the rules governing duration, exclusion, remedies, and alienation in multiple private property interests, including the major forms of intellectual property.

Keywords: Common property, private property, Locke, patents, copyrights, trademarks, misappropriation, remedies, alienation

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