Owning Knowledge: The History of Modern U.S. Intellectual Property Law Wisconsin Symposium on Legal History Institute for Legal Studies, University of Wisconsin Law School Location: Lubar Commons (Room 7200), University of Wisconsin Law School Date: Saturday, November 13, 2004; 9:15 am to 5:00 pm
The proliferation of scholarship on copyright, trademarks, and patents has inspired a growing interest in the history of intellectual property in the United States. This conference explores a critical problem in this emerging subfield: From the American Revolution onwards, what did it mean to “own” knowledge and what were the political and economic consequences of changing and conflicting understandings of ownership? The panelists and speakers are noted law professors, historians, and social scientists.
To pursue a legal history of “owning knowledge” is to open up a host of questions. In what manner and for what reasons did knowledge become “property?” What sorts of ownership claims could be asserted over what kinds of knowledge? In what senses could one own personal and intangible forms of knowledge? How did different regimes of “owning knowledge” influence the rate and nature of innovation and the distribution of rewards in the workplace? Participants at the conference will explore these questions with particular attention to the post-Revolutionary United States. They will devote some attention to contrasting European intellectual property systems in order to highlight distinctive and important features of the American experience.
There will be three types of sessions at the conference. First, Catherine Fisk will deliver a keynote address, “The History of Intellectual Property Comes of Age.” Second, two law professors, an economist, and a historian will bring their diverse perspectives to bear in an author-meets-readers discussion on The Democratization of Invention: Patents and Copyrights in American Economic Development (2004), a forthcoming book by economist B. Zorina Khan. The readers will be Peter Carstensen, Diane Lindstrom, Joel Mokyr, and Gordon Smith. Finally, panels will focus on “The Problem of Intellectual Property Ownership” (Oren Bracha, Steven Wilf, Anuj Desai and Bruce Smith) and on “Workplace Knowledge” (Robert Merges, Katherine Van Wezel Stone, Dan Burk, and Pilar Ossorio).
This interdisciplinary conference is free and open to students, faculty, and the community. “Owning Knowledge: The History of Modern U.S. Intellectual Property Law” is the second conference organized by the Wisconsin Symposium on Legal History. The Symposium, which is a program of the Institute for Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin Law School, will present a conference every two years that will bring together historians, law professors, and social scientists to explore an issue in legal history, broadly construed.
For information about the conference, please contact Prof. Richard Ross of the University of Illinois College of Law and History Department at [email protected] or at 217-244-7890. Transportation, accommodations, and logistics are under the direction of Pam Hollenhorst, Associate Director of the Institute for Legal Studies at [email protected].