Trademarks, Brands, Patents, Designs, Made in Italy, Copyrights, Competition Law, Contracts and Enforcement

07 settembre 2006

IP today: moving to the Commedia dell’arte model

Stefano Sandri

I have some footnotes to the Annual Congress of ATRIP (International association for the advancement of teaching and research in intellectual property), Parma, September 4-6. After an intensive, passionate and deep debate it was apparent that all were in agreement on that the IP scenario is roughly and rapidly changing. Nevertheless, the key question is to understand what direction these changes are pointing, and no one has a clear idea about this. As my humble contribution to the discussion I’d like to mark that I am Italian and thus –of course – I love art in general and theatre in particular. I am therefore picturing IP as a play running every day on the stage (i.e.the market), where a number of actors play different roles. Some of them are protagonists and pre-emptives (i.e. the undertakings), some others (i.e the consumers) play just a supporting role. The audiencelooks for the end of the play, when it may express its liberating agreement (by the applause) or disagreementas often happens in the gallery of the nice Opera House in Parma). Occasionally, in drama, we have the participation of the chorus (Institutions and organisations) which try to give voice to the public interest. Play is a pre-written text (i.e. the law ) and has its author (i.e. the legislator). Script is managed by director (i.e. the judge and the lawyer).
In the IP it seems now that the actors are interchanging their role, consumers are becoming protagonist, the undertaking are looking for a more effective dialogue and interfacing with the others actors on the market. Institutions and Organisations are more and more invasive, so that enlarging the drama area. Authors are loosing their identity.The law itself shows sign of worrying incertitude trying to find a reasonable solution to the problem of the fair balance between opposite interests. The system users, finally, claim the right to actively interfere, thanks to the information tec development, with the system itself.
All that is neither new nor surprisingly and finds its early answer in the "Commedia dell’arte"... Coming back to the theatre image, the model, we are today familiar with and which I have depicted, was originally quite different. In the Italian Commedia dell’arte all the moulds were broken: no plan, no fixed roles, no written text, stage managed improvisation. There was a draft, a canovaccio, and all the involved people, authors, actors and audience shared the project. It’s no accident that in Parma some speakers referred to the concept of condivisione, to sharing, as the key word to address the forthcoming challenges of the IP.
(i.e. the system users) normally is silent and, as a very diligent pupil, (by the whistles, Who knows any more who is the real author of something.

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