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The backronyms of intellectual protectionism and intellectual poverty,[81] whose initials are also IP, have also found supporters, especially among those who have used the backronym Digital Restrictions Management. [82] [83] Overall, the weight of existing historical evidence suggests that patent policies that grant strong intellectual property rights to early generations of inventors may discourage innovation. On the contrary, policies that promote the dissemination of ideas and amend patent laws to facilitate market entry and promote competition can be an effective mechanism to promote innovation. [92] Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes the immaterial creations of the human intellect. [1] [2] There are many types of intellectual property, and some countries recognize more than others. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] The most well-known types are copyrights, patents, trademarks and trade secrets. The modern concept of intellectual property developed in England in the 17th and 18th centuries. The term “intellectual property” was used in the 19th century, although intellectual property did not become commonplace in most global legal systems until the end of the 20th century. [8] 1. Members shall bring into force the provisions of this Agreement. Members may, without being obliged to do so, apply in their law a more extensive protection than that required by this Convention, provided that such protection does not contravene the provisions of this Convention.

Members are free to determine the appropriate method of applying the provisions of this Convention within their legal systems and practices. Other criticisms of intellectual property law concern the expansion of intellectual property, both in terms of its duration and scope. The organization moved to Geneva in 1960 and was replaced as a United Nations agency in 1967 with the creation of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). According to legal scholar Mark Lemley, it was only then that the term was actually used in the United States (which had not been a party to the Berne Convention)[8] and it did not enter everyday language until the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980. [16] Writer Ayn Rand argued in her book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal that intellectual property protection is essentially a moral issue. The belief is that the human mind itself is the source of wealth and survival, and that all property of its basis is intellectual property. The infringement of intellectual property is therefore morally no different from the infringement of other property rights, which interferes with the processes of survival itself and therefore constitutes an immoral act. [61] The exchange of limited exclusive rights for the disclosure of inventions and creative works mutually benefits society and the patent and copyright owner, and incentivizes inventors and authors to create and disclose their works. Some commentators have noted that the goal of intellectual property legislators and those who support its implementation appears to be “absolute protection.” “If some intellectual property is desirable because it encourages innovation, they argue that more is better. The misappropriation of trade secrets is different from violations of other intellectual property laws because trade secrets are by definition secret, while patents and registered copyrights and trademarks are publicly available. In the United States, trade secrets are protected by state law, and states have passed the Uniform Trade Secrets Act almost everywhere.

The United States also has a federal law in the form of the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (18 U.S.C. §§ 1831-1839), which makes the theft or misappropriation of a trade secret a federal crime. This law contains two provisions that criminalize two types of activities. The first, 18 U.S.C. § 1831(a), criminalizes the theft of trade secrets from foreign powers. The second, 18 U.S.C. § 1832, criminalizes their theft for commercial or economic purposes. (The legal penalties are different for the two offenses.) In Commonwealth common law jurisdictions, confidentiality and trade secrets are considered a just right rather than a property right, but the penalties for theft are about the same as in the United States. [Citation needed] Law professor, writer and political activist Lawrence Lessig, along with many other copyleft and free software activists, have criticized the implicit analogy with physical property (like land or car). They argue that such an analogy fails because physical property is generally rival, while intellectual works are not rival (i.e., when making a copy of a work, enjoying the copy does not preclude the enjoyment of the original).

[76] [77] Other arguments to this effect assert that, unlike the situation of material property, there is no natural rarity of a particular idea or information: once it exists, it can be reused and reproduced indefinitely, without this reuse diminishing the original.