Reading Comprehension - Worked Examples
Applying to new contexts | Law passage | Copyright
- [Instructor] Suppose an inventor describes an innovative idea for an invention to an engineer, who volunteers to draft specifications for a prototype and then produces the prototype using the engineer's own materials. Which one of the following statements would apply to this case under the tangible-object theory of intellectual property, as the author describes that theory? So we know how important it is to have understood what the tangible-object theory of intellectual property is and there's an example that the author provides in the last paragraph about the poet and the poet's friend. We should review that and that will give us an idea of how to answer this question. Here it is right here. Suppose that a poet dictates a new poem to a friend, who writes it down on paper that the friend has supplied. The creator of the tangible object in this case is not the poet but the friend, and there seem to be no ground for the poet's claiming copyright unless the poet can be said to already own ideas expressed in the work. So the author uses this example to say, look, tangible-object theory is problematic and the reason that the author thinks the tangible-object theory is problematic is that the creator of that object, in this case, really doesn't deserve to have many rights at all. So that's, I think, what we're looking for here. Here we have the inventor who describes the innovative idea. That's like the poet dictating the poem. And then we have an engineer who volunteers to draft the specs for a prototype and then produces a prototype using the engineer's own materials. The idea belongs to the inventor and the engineer is the friend who puts it all on paper and creates the tangible object. So the question is, which one of the following statements would apply to this case under the tangible-object theory of intellectual property? And we can predict that the answer is gonna be, well, the engineer created the tangible object, so the engineer is the owner of everything. So let's see what we have here. A, only the engineer is entitled to claim the invention as intellectual property. That looks good. I mean, it sounds crazy, but that's really the author's point, that people who believe in the tangible-object theory believe that the creator of that tangible object is the one who holds the intellectual property. B, only the inventor is entitled to claim the invention as intellectual property. No. C, the inventor and the engineer are equally entitled to claim the invention as intellectual property. No. D, the engineer is entitled to claim the invention as intellectual property, but only if the inventor retains the right to all profits generated by the invention. Okay, there is no sort of only if. That might be nice and that might be consistent with what the author's view is about this situation, but that isn't what the author represents the proponents of tangible-object theory to believe. So D is not right. E, the inventor is entitled to claim the invention as intellectual property, but only if the engineer retains the rights to all the profits generated by the invention. So both of these questions have this question of like the profit split, like somebody has the profits and the other person has the ability to claim the invention as intellectual property. That wasn't mentioned throughout the passage and if we look back at what are the views that we are attempting to summarize, the point that the author is making is that the tangible-object theory of intellectual property, if applied too rigorously, results in things like A. Only the engineer who created the tangible object is entitled to claim the invention as intellectual property. That is how the author represents those theorists' beliefs.