Intellectual property in the last few years has taken an historical turn which has led to the emergence of a good deal of interesting work. More recently, there has been an interest in the comparative history of intellectual property law. This has emerged as a result of the shift from intellectual property as a metropolitan legal framework, varying considerably from one territory to another, to a form of virtual property that easily crosses global borders. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) spearheads a harmonization project that has prompted legal scholars to look towards history to understand the diversity of copyright, trademark, patent, and a variety of smaller regimes.
Two quite recent interesting comparative intellectual property law projects are:
- Rethinking Patent Cultures, a UK Arts & Research Council (AHRC) funded project, hosted by the Centre for History & Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds and organized by Professor Graeme Gooday, hosted a conference as a first step towards understanding the comparative historical development of patent law.
- The WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Journal just published its special fifth anniversary issue, edited by Peter Yu, focusing on the historical development of intellectual property norms in a global perspective. This issue (volume 5) is available [here].