Summary of The Knockoff Economy

How Imitation Sparks Innovation

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The Knockoff Economy book summary
Intellectual property lawyers explain why copying helps – not hurts – creativity and innovation.


8 Overall

7 Importance

9 Innovation

6 Style


What do a pair of intellectual property lawyers have to say about the practice of “knocking off” or copying the creations of another person? Plenty, and, surprisingly, it is not all bad. Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman take readers through industries based on individual creativity, like fashion, food and comedy, to examine how they regulate copying. The authors report that the presence of imitators can encourage increased innovation. getAbstract finds this an interesting and entertaining read and recommends its memorable anecdotes to creative people who might want to share them with others – with the proper attribution, of course.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why copying someone else’s work may be good for innovation;
  • What highly creative industries like fashion, food and comedy demonstrate about the value of imitation; and
  • How nonlegal constraints help regulate copying.


The Knockoff Runway
Western culture believes that ownership of intellectual property (IP) fuels innovation. Robust laws allow inventors to patent devices and designs to ensure that creative people can copyright their written words or artistic expression. Owning your work, common wisdom...
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About the Authors

Kal Raustiala, author of Does the Constitution Follow the Flag?, is a professor of law at UCLA. Christopher Sprigman is a research professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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