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Trade SecretsIntellectual Piracy and the Origins of American Industrial Power$
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Doron S. Ben-Atar

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100068

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100068.001.0001

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Knowledge as Property in the International State System

Knowledge as Property in the International State System

(p.1) Chapter 1 Knowledge as Property in the International State System
Trade Secrets

Doron S. Ben-Atar

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the transformation of knowledge into property in the international state system. Notions of knowledge as a distinct concept representing an economic value emerged in the late medieval period and the early Renaissance, a development in which artisans' guilds played a crucial role. In an attempt to protect their members' power in the emerging market economy, guilds regulated access to knowledge of processes and the operation of machinery. The chapter reveals that England led the way in adopting the practice of awarding patent monopolies to foreigners to entice them to introduce skills or processes without checking whether they were the inventors in their countries of origin. It also explains that organizational changes in the mode of production and the cultural and legal embrace of the absolute right of property transformed the economy and society of Europe and its satellites.

Keywords:   knowledge, market economy, inventors, industrial capitalism

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