Can Louis Vuitton Dance with HiPhone? Rethinking the Idea of Social Justice in Intellectual Property Law

March 30, 2012Duke Law News

Join Duke Law SJD Haochen Sun from China for a talk reconsidering the relationship between social justice and intellectual property through the lens of two conflicting cultural phenomena in China. The first cultural phenomenon, called "shanzhai", legitimizes the production of inexpensive and trendy products like the HiPhone. The second phenomenon is the rise of China as the largest luxury market in the world, unleashing an unprecedented increase in the consumer demand for luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton. The "shanzhai" phenomenon clashes with the IP protection that forms the foundation of the successful luxury market in China. By exploring the conflict between these two cultural phenomena, the talk will argue that intellectual property law should be redesigned to support the redistribution of three kinds of resources: benefits from technological development, cultural power, and sources of innovation. The focus on these three redistributive mandates would function to reorient the recent heated debate on social justice and intellectual property toward an inquiry about the redistribution of resources in intellectual property law. Lunch will be served.

For more information, please contact Stefanie Kandzia at

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