Western Law

SSHRC grant supports Intellectual Property law research

WilkinsonProfessors Margaret Ann Wilkinson of Western Law (pictured left) and Mistrale Goudreau (Ottawa Faculty of Law – Civil Law Section) are receiving $109,374 from SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) to support four years of research into “The Prism of Corporate Culture and the Protection of Inventions and Data.” Traditionally, intellectual property (IP) law is said to balance (a) giving a just reward to rights holders for inventiveness (patent), creativity (copyright) or unique reputation in the marketplace (trademark); and (b) encouraging fair public access to knowledge of inventions, to creativity and information, and to recognizable symbols associated with specific products and services in the marketplace.

Questions to be tackled include whether recent IP developments skew toward IP features (including corporate asset identification, investment value and marketability) benefitting rights holders. If so, is this true for all devices considered to be part of IP? Are the goals of copyright exceptions, for instance, matched in modern patent law or in recent IP protections for secrets and technical data? Are current differences, if any, unavoidable (for instance for technological reasons)? Is it necessary, to be defined as IP, that each IP device be similarly balanced? If so, how could this be accomplished?