Autonomy and Independence: The Normative Face of Transaction Costs

53 Ariz. L. Rev. 145 (2011). Robert P. Merges, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Professor of Law and Technology, Director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology.

“Anticommons theory made a splash, and is today being expanded and applied, because it shifted our collective attention in a crucial way. Before the 1990s, the big policy questions in IP were all about individual IP rights: when should a copyright or patent be granted, when denied? Anticommons theory burst into this conventional conversation like an unruly drunk at a ballet recital. It demanded attention. It said, in effect, “you may mean well, but you’re missing the big point. You’re wasting your time!” The big point is not the individual grant of an IP right. It’s the aggregate impact of granting many rights to many discrete and independent right-holders.”

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This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Gridlock Economy Conference 2009