Law, smart technology, and circular economy: All watched over by machines of loving grace?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines how circular economics addresses and uses smart technology, and demonstrates the lack of consideration given to ownership issues in such contexts. The extent to which circular economic ideals require controlling goods down-stream will be exposed. Following this is an analysis of the ramifications of smart technology, illustrated with recent examples of control through smart technology. This leads to a critique of the US Supreme Court’s recent decision on patent exhaustion Impression Products v Lexmark alongside the CJEU’s decision in UsedSoft on copyright, addressing implications for contracting practices. The article concludes by urging close comparison of claimed benefits arising from circular economic approaches to smart technology with the potential costs of control (or lack thereof) of novel technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-265
Number of pages36
JournalLaw, Innovation and Technology
Issue number2
Early online date28 Sep 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Sep 2018


  • Circular economy
  • Goods
  • Ownership
  • Smart technology

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