Friday, July 9, 2010

Swanson on Fisk, Working Knowledge

WORKING KNOWLEDGE: EMPLOYEE INNOVATION AND THE RISE OF CORPORATE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, 1800-1930, by Catherine L. Fisk is reviewed by Kara W. Swanson, Northeastern University School of Law in the IP Law Book Review. Swanson begins:
What do gunpowder, light opera, and road maps have in common? Each is produced through a commercial enterprise that, according to Catherine Fisk, exemplifies the nineteenth and early-twentieth century transformation of workplace knowledge into corporate intellectual property. By intertwining labor and business history with the legal history of intellectual property, Fisk builds her central argument that “corporate ownership of workplace knowledge came into existence as employment shifted from being a relationship where legal obligations were determined primarily by status . . . to being one where legal obligations are determined primarily by contract” (p.2). Modern intellectual property is, Fisk tells us, intrinsically a creature of employment law and practice. Her exploration of this joint history is a significant contribution to both fields.
Continue reading here.