The Intellectual Property Pi – Can state law and universal law combine? | Hudson McKenzie

The Intellectual Property Pi – can national and universal laws combine?

To what extent can legislation enacted by the nation state have precedence over universal laws, such as those found within mathematics?

On the 14th March every year, ‘Pi Day’ is celebrated globally, particularly by enthusiastic mathematicians. The understanding of ‘Pi’ can be dated back to Ancient Babylon, in which demonstrates that the ratio of the circumference of any circle to its diameter will always equate to Pi (3.14 in numerals).

However, how far can a universal law such as the understanding of Pi, merge with national legislation, such as intellectual property law?

For instance, on Pi Day in 2012, a US district court dismissed the copyright infringement claim regarding two musicians who both based their compositions upon the numeral digits of ‘Pi’. This can be followed by another intellectual property law case, in which a company tried to trademark the ‘Pi’ symbol, as derived from the Greek symbol for the letter ‘P’ – showing how a universal law can be brought into nation-based law with ease.

Therefore, does the enactment of intellectual property law have the capacity to merge nation-based law with more universal laws, such as those discovered within mathematics, like the understanding of ‘Pi’?

For example, intellectual property law consists of the following main three categories:

  • Copyright: A legal term to describe the rights that creators have to their own works.
  • Patents: The right granted for an invention and how that invention can be used.
  • Trademarks: A way of distinguishing goods and services between one enterprise and another.

Thus, with the ever-developing world of technology and its ongoing merging with the legal sector, could intellectual property law be at the forefront of this development, given its capability to merge universal laws such as mathematics (as predominately also used within computer coding), leading universal laws like ‘Pi’ to eventually become susceptible to the precedence of national law?

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Author: Portia Vincent-Kirby