George Mason University Hosts Discussion Highlighting IP as the Link Between Innovation and Creativity

October 10, 2014

The Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP) at George Mason University (GMU) School of Law held a conference this week entitled: How Intellectual Property Unites Creators and Innovators. The slate of panelists and the keynote address, given by Prof. Richard A. Epstein, echoed a critical theme: that “innovation is creative and creativity is innovative” and both rely on intellectual property protection.

The first panel of the conference, The Common Economic Case for Patents & Copyrights, was moderated by Prof. Adam Mossoff from the GMU School of Law. Mossoff commented, “innovation and creative industries [are] engaged in [a] virtuous cycle that spur each other on to greater heights.” Prof. Jay Kesan, University of Illinois School of Law, added, “patents [are] essential for incentivizing invention and for post-grant commercialization and coordination.”

In the next panel, The Common Moral Case for Copyrights and Patents, we heard from Prof. Mark Schultz, GMU School of Law, CPIP; Southern Illinois University School of Law, who noted, “IP rights promote and facilitate individual decision-making and private cooperation in [a] flourishing free market.” Schultz made the very interesting point that IP rights don’t just protect the right of fair compensation but also help create the entire private sector where enterprise can foster outside government interference.  Schultz made the even more challenging point that copyright fosters political freedom because it allows individuals to control the content of their speech and the terms on which their political expression will be used.

In the following panel, IP Policy Challenges: Understanding and Addressing Concerns, Sandra Aistars, CEO, Copyright Alliance, noted, “creators are intensive users and drivers of technology” and, she further added, “innovation is [the] common ground between the creative sector and technology innovation sectors.”

And Prof. Mark Schulz, the moderator, emphasized, “patents and copyrights are essential to large-scale cross-industry collaboration in our innovative and creative economy.”

The discussions covered a lot of interesting ground as they explored the shared interests of innovators and creators and the value of intellectual property protection to both. As Prof. Sean O’Connor, University of Washington School of Law, summed up, “creators v. innovators is a false dichotomy used. Both practice genius and skill.”

The two days of discussion at GMU touched on the importance of fostering that genius and skill with effective and enforceable IP property protections.

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