Sunday, May 20, 2012

Koepsell, David. Innovation and Nanotechnology: Converging Technologies and the End of Intellectual Property.

Bloomsbury Academic. 2011. c256p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 978-1-84966-343-4. $75.00. Kindle Edition. B00567BC1I $64.99.

In this book, which the author describes as comprising an “informal IP trilogy” (p. 198), Koepsell (J. D. & Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo; Assistant Professor, Philosophy, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands; Senior Research Fellow, 3TU Centre for Ethics and Technology), an attorney, philosopher, educator, and the author of several books, including Who Owns You and The Ontology of Cyberspace, argues that nanowares (i.e. the ideas and products arising from nanotechnology) demand new approaches to scientific discovery, innovation, and intellectual property (IP). Focusing upon the nexus of science, technology, ethics, and public policy, the author applies ideas of social philosophy to the nanoparticle world. In the first four of nine chapters, Koepsell examines how the academic, government, legal, scientific, and technological communities deal with the development of converging technologies in nanowares. In response to his observations that many of the current models, including intellectual property laws, are becoming or have become obsolete, in the remaining five chapters, he then suggests alternative paradigms. Koepsell posits that current intellectual property laws are artificial, flawed, harmful, illogical, inadequate, inefficient, unethical, and unnecessary. To spark innovation and further develop nanotechnology and nanowares, the author makes the case for rejecting current intellectual property laws in favor of new, more open schemes that consider the unique natures of nanotechnology and nanowares as well as maximize innovation, promote efficiencies, and protect innovators. He proposes a new theory of artifacts, based upon the notion of a “commons by necessity,” that protects man-made expressions without depending upon artificial, illogical, and unjust distinctions. Koepsell further advocates contractual models and those arising from free markets. Well-written, reasonably effectively-presented, given the complexity of its subject matters, and expertly-argued by a scholar, who focuses on interdisciplinary ethical, legal, philosophical, and technological issues, this book may presume that readers possess some foundational knowledge of ethics, intellectual property laws, philosophy, and/or new technologies, as well as of the author’s previous writings. It is highly recommended for upper level university students, researchers, scholars, scientists, and some professionals. This ambitious, original, and provocative, interdisciplinary publication, presenting a controversial approach to the current status quo in the nanoparticle world, belongs in research-oriented library collections found mostly in academic and special libraries. Review copy. Availability:, Barnes &