Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The Museum of Intellectual Property
Perhaps more than any other field of law, intellectual property calls for illustration. The landmark cases of IP law have facts that beg to be seen, as well as read.
That’s why I’ve begun a project called The Museum of Intellectual Property. The aim of the museum is to serve as a resource for teachers, students, and scholars of IP law.
It's also to preserve an important facet of legal history. The very meaning of the law of intellectual property is bound up with the inventions, artistic works, and trademark-bearing products at the heart of leading cases. So making these physical objects available for inspection is, I think, a worthwhile endeavor.
The museum’s collection currently includes some 100 physical artifacts that embody the patents, copyrights, and trademarks fought over in scores of lawsuits. Among the items: a Qualitex green-gold press pad cover, a Stiffel pole lamp, a Motorola SportsTrax pager, Millar's 1752 printing of "The Seasons," a theatre program for Abie’s Irish Rose, and a print of Gary Saderup's illustration of the Three Stooges - signed by the artist. The collection also includes the objects you see in the pictures to the left. In addition to the physical objects, there will also be audio specimens and digital images from still more cases.
I've now started to put the museum online. I’ll roll out one exhibit at a time, debuting each as a post on my Pixelization blog. The premiere exhibit page shows a dual-spring road sign from TrafFix Devices, Inc. v. Marketing Displays, Inc., 532 U.S. 23 (2001). The sign was a generous gift from TrafFix – for which I am very grateful.
I hope you find the museum interesting. If you have any comments or suggestions, I would be very glad to hear them.
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Tracked on Jun 2, 2008 1:20:49 PM
Neat. You're probably well aware of this, but for others, there's an online version of The Illustrated History of Copyright at http://www.edwardsamuels.com/illustratedstory/index.htm.
Posted by: Edward Swaine | May 28, 2008 10:30:40 PM
There's also copyrighthistory.org, which archives primary sources on copyright from 1450-1900 from the US, UK, France, Italy, and Germany.
Posted by: Cathy | May 28, 2008 10:52:40 PM
There is also Rebecca Tushnet's great database of sounds and images litigated in IP cases (mostly about recent U.S. cases, and no URL b/c access is password-restricted).
Posted by: Dave | May 29, 2008 2:48:42 AM