Law For Food: The law affects what you eat. What you buy to eat affects the law.

Comparative IP, Magician Style
15 October 2007, 1:32 pm
Filed under: Intellectual Property in Food, Regulation, Subsidies, Taxation, the-small-laws

In my comparative law class last year, we discussed at length the need for comparative lawyers to take a holistic look at the cultures which they are comparing before reaching their conclusions. It is often misleading to conclude that such-and-such a problem simply does not occur in the target jurisdiction when a strictly legal solution to that problem doesn’t show up in statutes and cases.

This article in Slate brings up the idea of extra-legal IP protection in two cases: magicians’ tricks, and chefs’ techniques and recipes. In neither case are the ideas and innovations that build a magician or a chef’s career protected at law, but that doesn’t mean that these markets don’t have extra-legal incentives to protect those innovations. Often the incentives are a function of the social network protecting its value and stability against outsiders and upstart. I thought you might appreciate this as a way IP is protected without recourse to the government.


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