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Working KnowledgeEmployee Innovation and the Rise of Corporate Intellectual Property, 1800-1930$
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Catherine L. Fisk

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833025

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807899069_fisk

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 14 October 2019

Stealing in the Dark the Improvements of Others

Stealing in the Dark the Improvements of Others

Chapter:
(p.23) 1 Stealing in the Dark the Improvements of Others
Source:
Working Knowledge
Author(s):

Catherine L. Fisk

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807899069_fisk.6

This chapter begins with an explanation of the nature and reasons for the early American legal commitment to mobility of labor and to the courts' refusal to regard workplace knowledge, whether unpatented secrets such as Du Pont's or patented inventions by employees, as the virtually inalienable attribute of the individual employee. Against the context of the antebellum legal commitment to free mobility of skilled labor and individual entrepreneurship protected by patent law, it then examines how Du Pont's business strategy and choices for managing its skilled workers reflected and adapted to the American insistence that workplace knowledge was the attribute of skilled workers, not an asset of the firm that employed them.

Keywords:   American legal commitment, mobility of labor, workplace knowledge, unpatented secrets, Du Pont

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