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Abstract

When lawyers and scholars speak of “intellectual property,” they are generally referring to a combination of two distinct elements: an innovation incentive that promises a market-based reward to producers of knowledge goods, and an allocation mechanism that makes access to knowledge goods conditional upon payment of a proprietary price. Distinguishing these two elements clarifies ongoing debates about intellectual property and opens up new possibilities for innovation policy. Once intellectual property is disaggregated into its core components, each element can be combined synergistically with non-IP innovation incentives such as prizes, tax preferences, and direct spending on grants and government research, or with non-IP allocation mechanisms that promote broader access to knowledge goods.

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