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Coined by Michael Heller, based on "tragedy of the commons", a term coined by Garrett Hardin.


anticommons (plural anticommons)

  1. The reverse of a commons; a situation in which a resource is subject to fragmented rights, whereby potential users can exclude one another.
    • 1998 May 1, Michael A. Heller & Rebecca S. Eisenberg, “Can Patents Deter Innovation? The Anticommons in Biomedical Research”, in Science[1], volume 280, number 5364, DOI:10.1126/science.280.5364.698, pages 698-701:
      However, the recent proliferation of intellectual property rights in biomedical research suggests a different tragedy, an "anticommons" in which people underuse scarce resources because too many owners can block each other.
    • 2007, Peter K. Yu, Intellectual property and information wealth, page 289:
      A substantial amount of current empirical evidence supports the conclusion that an anticommons has not developed.

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