Intellectual Property and Society


For my white paper, I will be focusing on intellectual property rights. Intellectual property can be defined generally as “patents, copyrights, and trademarks, which provide legal rights to protect ideas, the expression of ideas, and the inventors and creators of such ideas” (Brown 213). The fundamental debate surrounding this issue is the notion that legal protections of intangible ideas conflicts with the right to free expression and exchange provided in the First Amendment.

This topic is a complete left turn from my second paper, in which I used Corrections Corporations of America as a case to analyze the ethics of privatized prisons. However, it is also one I am little knowledgeable about and am very interested in exploring.

My societal resource is entitled “Needed: A New System of Intellectual Property Rights.” The article opens with the following strong statements: “Fundamental shifts in technology and in the economic landscape are rapidly making the current system of intellectual property rights unworkable and ineffective. Designed more than 100 years ago to meets the simpler needs of an industrial era, it is an undifferentiated, one-size-fits-all system” (Thurow 95). While standardized structures can be effective solutions to many business challenges, they are not compatible with the increasing complexities of intellectual property.

Author Lester Thurow argues that the financial success and long-term sustainability of a business depend largely on skills and knowledge. This assertion aligns with the conclusion of my business article that appropriate utilization of implicit intelligence provides a firm with the greatest competitive advantage. Thurow believes that the old system of intellectual property protection is inadequate in the contemporary economy as a result of strictly controlled information flow, new technology development, and globalizing business.

Like my business resource, this article was also published in the late 1990s by the Harvard Business Review, making me inclined to trust its reliability as a source of social perspective.

Brown, William M. “Intellectual Property Law.” Molecular Biotechnology 23.3 (2003): 213-24. Springer. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

Thurow, Lester C. “Needed: A New System of Intellectual Property Rights.” Harvard Business Review September/October (1997): 94-103. Print.

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