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corporate capitalism; financiarisation; firm; institutional complementarities.; Intellectual Property; knowledge; market; patent


The aim of this paper is to analyse the evolution of the intellectual property regime, and more precisely the patent regime, in the USA, since the 19th century. To do so, we shall consider intellectual property within the context of general transformations in capitalism, focusing on two main historical phases. Firstly, the period covering the formation and development of 'corporate capitalism' dominated by large corporations. And then the new phase, which opened up in the 1980s, marked by the rise to power of finance. From a perspective of institutional complementarities, we seek to show how the characteristics and implications of IPR regimes can only be understood in relation to transformations in the main institutional forms of capitalism: forms of the firm, the status of labour (the 'wage-labour nexus'), and market forms.