Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Catherine Fisk Wins ASLH Book Award for Working Knowledge

Catherine Fisk of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law has been awarded the John Phillip Reid Book Award of the American Society for Legal History for Working Knowledge: Employee Innovation and the Rise of Corporate Intellectual Property, 1800-1930 (University of North Carolina Press, 2009). The award is for the best monograph beyond an author’s first book published in English in Anglo-American legal history, broadly defined. The ASLH citation read in part:
Catherine Fisk’s Working Knowledge is a book of many different virtues. It takes on a novel question—when, how, and why did corporations come pervasively to own and control the intellectual property created by their employees?—and it brings to bear prodigious primary research, not just in case law but in corporate archives as well. By combining these two types of sources, among others, Fisk delivers a compelling story of doctrinal development—especially in the areas of patent, copyright, and trade secrets—but also grounds that story in a textured history of the internal practices and cultures of DuPont, Eastman Kodak, and other companies known for innovation in the early 20th century. Moreover, Fisk brings together a range of literatures that do not always make contact with each other: the literatures of legal history, of business history, of labor history, and of cultural history, among others. Adroitly deploying all of this research, she delivers a highly readable narrative that exposes the mutability of historical perspectives on identity and creativity. She offers us both a big, satisfying narrative arc and a collection of smaller arguments and speculations.
Working Knowledge was also awarded the 2010 Littleton-Griswold Prize in American Law and Society of the American Historical Association.


Tip of the hat to the Legal History Blog.