Jessica Silbey wrote an article for Smithsonian Magazine titled How Xerox’s Intellectual Property Prevented Anyone From Copying Its Copiers.

« And yet, the Xerox machine was not invented by one person alone. Although the idea of the copy machine arguably originates with [Chester Carlson], he did not succeed with his experimentation and prototypes until partnering in 1938 with Otto Kornei, a young German physicist. »

« Origins of ideas cannot be traced to a single person or moment, and yet Chet’s patents, licensed to Xerox, named him the inventor and not Kornei as a joint-inventor or Selenyi as the grandfather of the original idea. »

« Intellectual property is a grant of title in an invention or creative expression to one person or a group of persons, despite the inevitable reality that all innovation and creativity is iterative and borrows from what came before. »

The article is an excerpt from A History of Intellectual Property in 50 Objects edited by Claudy Op den Kamp and Dan Hunter.

 

 

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