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Christmas in Paris: No Secrets in France

December 19, 2006

I’m in Paris for one of the Sundays of Advent. I haven’t been back since January when the fight was raging in the National Assembly over the then-latest efforts of the EFFluviati to destroy capitalism one song at a time.

It’s a bit nippy here this time of year, and I went into a pharmacie to see if I could get some Airborne, which I’d run out of (and which I swear by as an effective prevention for colds). Now what might my preferences for home remedies have to do with intellectual property?

Apparently, Airborne is not available in France. When I asked the pharmacien for the product, she had never heard of it, and asked me what was in it. I told her it was a secret formula. She looked at me like I’d said “England swings like Foucault do”. “But what is it made of?” She asked again. I said, “It is a secret formula, a trade secret, like Coca Cola!”

The pharmacien said: “In France, there are no secret formulas.”

I said: “In France, there is no Airborne.”

But there is Lessig, apparently. “Attention, les enfants!”

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