Intellectual property (IP) is a term referring to creations of the intellect for which a monopoly is assigned to designated owners by law. Some common types of intellectual property rights (IPR) are copyright, patents, and industrial design rights; and the rights that protect trademarks, trade dress, and in some jurisdictions trade secrets: all these cover music, literature, and other artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs.
While intellectual property law has evolved over centuries, it was not until the 19th century that the term ''intellectual property'' began to be used, and not until the late 20th century that it became commonplace in the majority of the world.〔"property as a common descriptor of the field probably traces to the foundation of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) by the United Nations." in Mark A. Lemley, (''Property, Intellectual Property, and Free Riding'' ), Texas Law Review, 2005, Vol. 83:1031, page 1033, footnote 4.〕
The Statute of Monopolies (1624) and the British Statute of Anne (1710) are seen as the origins of patent law and copyright respectively, firmly establishing the concept of intellectual property.
The first known use of the term ''intellectual property'' dates to 1769, when a piece published in the ''Monthly Review'' used the phrase.〔 (Citing ''Monthly Review'', (vol. 41. p. 290 ) (1769): "What a niggard this Doctor is of his own, and how profuse he is of other people's intellectual property.")〕 The first clear example of modern usage goes back as early as 1808, when it was used as a heading title in a collection of essays.〔 (Citing ''Medical Repository Of Original Essays And Intelligence'', (vol. 11. p. 303 ) (1808): "New-England Association in favour of Inventors and Discoverers, and particularly for the Protection of intellectual Property.")〕
The German equivalent was used with the founding of the North German Confederation whose constitution granted legislative power over the protection of intellectual property (''Schutz des geistigen Eigentums'') to the confederation.〔('Article 4 No. 6 of the Constitution of 1867 (German)' ) Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 52, p. 1255, 2001〕 When the administrative secretariats established by the Paris Convention (1883) and the Berne Convention (1886) merged in 1893, they located in Berne, and also adopted the term intellectual property in their new combined title, the United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property.
The organization subsequently relocated to Geneva in 1960, and was succeeded in 1967 with the establishment of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) by treaty as an agency of the United Nations. According to Lemley, it was only at this point that the term really began to be used in the United States (which had not been a party to the Berne Convention),〔 and it did not enter popular usage until passage of the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980.〔Mark A. Lemley, ("Property, Intellectual Property, and Free Riding" ) (Abstract); see Table 1: 4–5.〕
"The history of patents does not begin with inventions, but rather with royal grants by Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603) for monopoly privileges... Approximately 200 years after the end of Elizabeth's reign, however, a patent represents a legal right obtained by an inventor providing for exclusive control over the production and sale of his mechanical or scientific invention... () the evolution of patents from royal prerogative to common-law doctrine."〔Mossoff, A. ('Rethinking the Development of Patents: An Intellectual History, 1550–1800,' ) Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 52, p. 1255, 2001〕
The term can be found used in an October 1845 Massachusetts Circuit Court ruling in the patent case ''Davoll et al. v. Brown.'', in which Justice Charles L. Woodbury wrote that "only in this way can we protect intellectual property, the labors of the mind, productions and interests are as much a man's own...as the wheat he cultivates, or the flocks he rears."〔''1 Woodb. & M. 53, 3 West.L.J. 151, 7 F.Cas. 197, No. 3662, 2 Robb.Pat.Cas. 303, Merw.Pat.Inv. 414''〕 The statement that "discoveries are...property" goes back earlier. Section 1 of the French law of 1791 stated, "All new discoveries are the property of the author; to assure the inventor the property and temporary enjoyment of his discovery, there shall be delivered to him a patent for five, ten or fifteen years." In Europe, French author A. Nion mentioned ''propriété intellectuelle'' in his ''Droits civils des auteurs, artistes et inventeurs'', published in 1846.
Until recently, the purpose of intellectual property law was to give as little protection possible in order to encourage innovation. Historically, therefore, they were granted only when they were necessary to encourage invention, limited in time and scope.
The concept's origins can potentially be traced back further. Jewish law includes several considerations whose effects are similar to those of modern intellectual property laws, though the notion of intellectual creations as property does not seem to exist – notably the principle of Hasagat Ge'vul (unfair encroachment) was used to justify limited-term publisher (but not author) copyright in the 16th century. In 500 BCE, the government of the Greek state of Sybaris offered one year's patent "to all who should discover any new refinement in luxury".〔Charles Anthon, A Classical Dictionary: Containing an Account of the Principal Proper Names Mentioned in Ancient Authors, and Intended to Elucidate All the Important Points Connected with the Geography, History, Biography, Mythology, and Fine Arts of the Greek and Romans. Together with an Account of Coins, Weights, and Measures, with Tabular Values of the Same 1273 (Harper & Brothers 1841). See also "The first patent law was enacted in Sybaris, a city in the South of Italy, before the Roman domination; (...) The law was mentioned by Atheneus, an ancient writer..." in Takenaka, Toshiko (2013). Intellectual Property in Common Law and Civil Law. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 419. (chapter by Mario Franzosi).〕
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