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Working Knowledge: Employee Innovation and the Rise of Corporate Intellectual Property, 1800-1930 (Studies in Legal History)

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Skilled workers of the early nineteenth century enjoyed a degree of professional independence because workplace knowledge and technical skill were their "property," or at least their attribute. In most sectors of today's economy, however, it is a foundational and widely accepted truth that businesses retain legal ownership of employee-generated intellectual property. In ...more
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by University of North Carolina Press (first published October 27th 2009)
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Oliver Bateman
Jan 14, 2011 Oliver Bateman rated it it was amazing
(from a review that is forthcoming in Essays in History, Spring 2010)

Using a judicious selection of state and federal court cases in conjunction with detailed research in the corporate archives of companies like Du Pont and Rand McNally, Catherine Fisk weaves together an exemplary narrative about the development of the modern American intellectual property regime. Unlike B. Zorina Khan’s The Democratization of Invention: Patents and Copyrights in American Economic Development, 1790-1920 — a work
Dec 16, 2015 John rated it really liked it
Working Knowledge is at its core a book about how work for hire came about. The sections take the reader from the early period of the Republic and shows how as companies became established workers lost me re and more control of what they owned in the workplace. The book ends looking at Silicon Valley as the new response to companies who wanted total control as a movement that was returning to the original intent of American Industy.
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