Jason Du Mont
This project broadly explores the discordant application of creativity requirements in national design regimes. It includes three separate empirical studies, each building on the next. The first examines a well-known but untested phenomenon in design regimes called Creativity Scaling. Broadly stated, the orthodox account of design regime typologies could be described as follows: patent approaches grant the strongest rights conditioned on the most creativity through their high obviousness-based standards; copyright approaches grant the weakest rights conditioned on the least creativity through their low originality-based standards; and sui generis regimes fit somewhere between these dominant regime archetypes. While the balance between requirement and reward are equally important to avoiding market failure, this project focuses on the elusive role of creativity. Through a series of internet-based surveys, it tests whether design regimes are indeed scaled. Moreover, it explores the role of viewpoint on the application of these legal determinations. The second study utilizes the lens of product semantics or design-based semiotics, to help explain why these standards are commonly portrayed as subjective. Specifically, it examines the relationship between the legal outcomes from the first set of surveys, and a second set aimed at unraveling how distinctions in semantic and symbolic product meanings can affect their outcomes. Lastly, the third and final study examines the relationship between creativity requirements and consumer preference. Simply put, people obtain the most hedonic value from objects with a moderate degree of novelty. Indeed, Raymond Loewy’s famous design heuristic nicely encapsulates this relationship between novelty and consumer preference more broadly: Most Advanced, yet Acceptable (MAYA). Building on the results from the first study, this project closes by investigating how creativity requirements, which theoretically mandate disparate degrees of novelty, affect consumer preference for those designs.
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