Currently, I teach Intellectual property law in the same city where Chaucer based his famous medieval tales. I would like to think that if there is a defining feature of my work is eclecticism. My doctoral dissertation was on the history of copyright in Latin America in the late nineteenth century (PhD 2009). I was supervised and influenced by Fiona Macmillan and the wonderful postgraduate community at Birkbeck College, London. Since then, I have been- and I am still- interested in many (too many!) things: music, evidence, registration, scrabble, toys, bureaucracy, etc. Because of that variety of interests, I tend to avoid or to push the clear textbook boundaries within the discipline. Ironically, my last publication is however an edited collection of the disciplinary type that, nevertheless, tried to raise historical questions about the subject: Landmark Cases in Intellectual Property (Hart, 2017). In a sense, I guess, what really keeps me researching on this area of law is somehow an uncanny curiosity around questions surrounding (the history of) copying, representation, publicness, imitation, technology and bureaucratic routines. Perhaps the phrase that captured many of these anxieties and that I would have loved to have written myself is the following (….and I am copying here!): “the history of intellectual property can be seen as one of the law attempting to contain and restrict the intangible – to capture the phantom” (Sherman and Bently, The Making of Intellectual Property, CUP, 1999, 59).
What does it mean for PASSIM? For someone like me who prefers the blurring over the drawing of distinctions, PASSIM offers a great opportunity to discuss questions of copyright/patents in a group of excellent researchers and scholars. My individual project is not just an obvious attempt to discuss the regime overlap but also an attempt to reflect on the historical changes affecting the discipline in the twentieth century.