Home > Calendar > IP Osgoode Speaks Series: The Fallacy of Constitutional Intellectual Property

IP Osgoode Speaks Series: The Fallacy of Constitutional Intellectual Property

Date: 25-Mar-2019
Time: 02:30 PM - 04:00 PM
Location: IKB, room 2027
Link: RSVP



Prof. Lior Zemer

"The Fallacy of Constitutional Intellectual Property"

For over 200 years constitutions have included IP as part of their fundamental rights agenda. Nearly 200 countries have written constitutions. Of these, 113 explicitly mention intellectual property. 78 countries include IP as a constitutional right and 35 countries empower the parliament as a state power to legislate on IP. 12 countries have both. All 12 are developing countries. Using a new 200-year comprehensive database on the content of intellectual property clauses in world’s constitutions, this research finds a convergence on the content of intellectual property protection, including in systems that lack adequate protection for these rights. An inquiry into the methods and motivations of countries to include intellectual property as a right in their constitution reveals the fallacy, as opposed to other fundamental rights, and challenges the common wisdom that “constitutional commitments are potentially credible ones and send a strong signal to potential buyers and investors” (Farber 2002). The research distinguishes between intellectual property as an empowerment clause and as a basic human right, and focuses on the latter. The research reveals and critically examines the fundamental difference between protection in principle and protection in practice in countries that adopted intellectual property as a basic constitutional right. 


Lior Zemer is the Vice Dean and Professor of Law at the Radzyner School of Law, Interdisciplinary Centre, Herzliya, Israel, Director of the MA Program in Law, Technology and Business Innovation and a Visiting Professor at Boston University School of Law. He held academic positions at the faculties of law in Leicester, Birmingham and UCL, and a visiting position at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto. Prior to joining legal academia he served as the assistant lawyer to Judge J.D. Cooke at the European Court of First Instance and Judge S. von Bahr at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Professor Zemer’s research interests include Intellectual property law and policy, jurisprudence, international and European law.

Light refreshments will be provided, please RSVP.