Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Published Version.

Van Caenegem, William (2003). Intellectual property and the idea of progress. Intellectual Property Quarterly , Vol. 3, pp. 237-256.

Reproduced with permission.


Many of the features of intellectual property regimes that are most consistent over time arguably reflect the western belief in, or ideology of, material progress. The idea of progress is typified by belief in the limitless accumulation of new knowledge, and the potential for practical application of that knowledge; belief in the essential contribution of the individual mind to generating valuable new insights; and belief that technological development will allow the ever expanding and ever changing desire for material satisfaction to be met. A progressivist world view thus emphasises individual creativity, the practical use of knowledge, and constant innovation and change. These are all factors that play an important role in defining various forms of intellectual property rights.



This document has been peer reviewed.


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