IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Intellectual Property Rights In A Knowledge-Based Economy: A New Frame-Of-Analysis


  • Elad Harison


The debate on software intellectual property rights (IPRs) has not only highlighted fundamental issues regarding the scheme of protection that software enjoys, it has also pointed out major gaps in the representation of computer programs as economic goods. In this respect, various interpretations of software propose a limited outlook by referring only to particular aspects of computer programs. The paper discusses the economic nature of software and computational processes and how they should be properly represented as commodities by focusing on software IPR legislation in the US. It elaborates the similarities and differences between software applications and machines on the basis of historical evidence from the evolution of information technologies and computer science. Further, we discuss whether computer programs should enjoy IPR protection (like their physical equivalents) and which legal regime would induce the maximal degree of societal benefits, while satisfying private and public interests. The paper also elaborates the essential issues of the distinction between ideas and expressions and the ways they are treated as intellectual property. It highlights major aspects in the debate over protection of software applications by both patents and copyrights and analyses the economic impact of the joint regime. By highlighting the dissimilarities in the economic nature and market behaviour of ideas and expressions we point out the difficulties in drawing parallels between software and physical equivalents. Finally, we provide alternative ways to establish coherent juridical basis and legal policy of software IPRs that aim at stimulating innovation and developing the technological landscape in information technologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Elad Harison, 2008. "Intellectual Property Rights In A Knowledge-Based Economy: A New Frame-Of-Analysis," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 377-400.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:17:y:2008:i:4:p:377-400
    DOI: 10.1080/10438590701281280

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Babbage, Charles, 1832. "Economy of Machinery and Manufactures," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number babbage1832.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Cristiano, Antonelli & Ferraris, Gianluigi, 2009. "Innovation as an Emerging System Property: an Agent Based Model," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 200911, University of Turin.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:17:y:2008:i:4:p:377-400. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.