Monday, December 18, 2017

IP and the Soccer, er, Football

Just a short note this winter break week about a short essay that I enjoyed. Mike Madison (Pitt) has put The Football as Intellectual Property Object on SSRN. At first, I was really excited - looking forward to hearing about the pigskin's development from rugby. But, apparently, there's another kind of football around, but the essay was interesting just the same. Here's the abstract:
The histories of technology and culture are filled with innovations that emerged and took root by being shared widely, only to be succeeded by eras of growth framed by intellectual property. The Internet is a modern example. The football, also known as the pelota, ballon, bola, balón, and soccer ball, is another, older, and broader one. The football lies at the core of football. Intersections between the football and intellectual property law are relatively few in number, but the football supplies a focal object through which the great themes of intellectual property have shaped the game: origins; innovation and standardization; and relationships among law and rules, on the one hand, and the organization of society, culture, and the economy, on the other.
The essay details some of the history of soccer and the soccer ball from a variety of IP and innovation standpoints - sponsorships, standardization, unintended consequences of innovation, etc. The discussion provides a nice, brief survey of the untold life of an everyday object. The essay is part of a larger book that I look forward to reading: A History of Intellectual Property in 50 Objects.

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