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Open Access Publications from the University of California

"Technologies of the law/ law as a technology".

  • Author(s): Biagioli, Mario
  • Buning, Marius
  • et al.

Historians of science and technology and STS practitioners have always taken intellectual property very seriously but, with some notable exceptions, they have typically refrained from looking "into" it. There is mounting evidence, however, that they can open up the black box of IP as effectively as they have done for the technosciences, enriching their discipline while making significant contributions to legal studies. One approach is to look at the technologies through which patent law construes its object - the invention - in specific settings and periods by examining procedures, classifications, archives, models, repositories, patent specifications (in both their linguistic and pictorial dimensions), and the highly specialized language of patent claims. More ambitiously, we could treat intellectual property as a technology itself. Patent law does not evolve either by merely articulating its doctrine in response to technological developments. The line between what does and does not count as invention may be redrawn with the emergence of new objects and technologies, but is not determined by them. It is this constructive feature of the law that we are trying to capture with the notion of law as technology. We hope that thinking about the technologies of the law and the law as technology will bring into question what we mean by both "technology" and "law".

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