The debate on knowledge has mainly focused on the role of proprietary systems for fostering economic growth and increasing social welfare. Currently, the main rationale for justifying the appropriation of knowledge relies on the belief that intellectual property rights is able to promote efficiency by providing the owner/creator with the proper economic incentive for producing the optimal level of new knowledge and knowledge-intensive products.
However, a growing number of issues concerning the broadly defined economic consequences, the idiosyncratic features of knowledge, and its role in social and economic life are heavily challenging the previous belief, by showing that patents, copyrights and trademarks are very often simply unable to serve the primary goals, and in many instances they can even be damaging, both from the economic and social perspective.
The conference attempts to gain further insights into the ambiguous relationship between intellectual property rights and welfare, by focusing on the role played by the openness in knowledge domain. The specific aim of the event is to gather a number of distinguished scholars with different backgrounds to discuss the thesis as to whether open and competitive societies have been, historically, the most innovative and creative.