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This chapter surveys the literature on alternatives to intellectual property, focusing especially on alternatives to patent law, but with some attention as well to copyright. It does not consider the question whether intellectual property rights are justified, but assumes that absent some form of governmental innovation, inventions and works of authorship might be underproduced relative to the social optimum. The chapter thus considers how institutions besides traditional property rights compare relative to one another and to traditional intellectual property systems. The chapter considers only briefly the possibility that government itself might produce inventions and works of authorship or that government might indirectly produce these by funding research. A considerable literature already exists on governmental peer review and research administration, and so these mechanisms are considered only insofar as they compare to the institutions that are the primary focus of this chapter, prize and reward systems.

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GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2019-13; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-13

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