Semiotica, diritto e mercato. Economia del marchio nel terzo millenio
This article is aimed at providing an answer from the economics perspective to the puzzling Shakespearean question "What's in a name ?", specifically paying attention to the case of trademark, a commercial device used since antiquity and continuously expanding its boundaries. Its advent is connected with the problem of information asymmetries and the need to provide information for assisting exchanges so as to avert the market failure brought about by adverse selection. However, this information-conveying function has soon been accompanied by a differentiation effect, arising from the peculiar power that signs can exert on individuals' preferences. The pragmatic exploitation of differentiation has today given rise to the practice of branding, which ties markets and consumption to the realms of meaning and experience. Further, branding is so all-pervasive in today's economy as to have somehow transfigured the relationships between signs and goods, to the point that trademark has become a sort of property right over semantic products. On the whole this is opening the door to what could be termed the new economy of signs and meanings that should be still investigated.
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