Norms-based intellectual property systems: The case of French chefs

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Citation: Emmanuelle Fauchart, Eric von Hippel (2008) Norms-based intellectual property systems: The case of French chefs. Organization Science (RSS)
DOI (original publisher): 10.1287/orsc.1070.0314
Semantic Scholar (metadata): 10.1287/orsc.1070.0314
Sci-Hub (fulltext): 10.1287/orsc.1070.0314
Internet Archive Scholar (search for fulltext): Norms-based intellectual property systems: The case of French chefs
Tagged: Business (RSS)


Contemporary examples of norms-based "intellectual property" e.g., free, libre and open source software, include legal aspect, i.e. software copyright and licenses in the case of FLOSS. Authors provide existence proof of contemporary purely norms-based IP among French chefs, identifying 3 norms:

  • chef must not copy another's recipe innovation exactly
  • chef must not pass on privately revealed recipe information without permission from revealing chef
  • credit developers of significant recipes as authors

Through interviews with 10 chefs and questionnaires returned by 104, authors find that chefs are significantly more likely to deny information requests from chefs not perceived as following above norms, and that this enforcement is done in a way likely to increase the innovation-related profits of enforcers.

Authors speculate that purely norms-based IP may exist in many contemporary fields, outlining four favorable conditions for such: "(1) The protection of IP is important to a group of individuals or firms; (2) group members consider any extant law-based or other form of IP protection inadequate or unsatisfactory in some way; (3) group members control economic rewards and/or sanctions valued by group members; and (4) actions by nongroup members cannot destroy the value of sustaining the norm within the group or destroy the value of rewards and sanctions available to enforce the norm."

Theoretical and Practical Relevance

If norms-based IP systems are common, how do they differ across fields? Author mention anti-exact-copying and pro-credit as norms likely to vary. How do norms interact with law? If norms-based IP functions as IP, what are the social welfare consequences of such norms?