Prices Aren’t Always Property

Lynne Kiesling

I have a question, or qualification, of Mike’s excellent post about prices as property the other day. What about the string of court rulings that allow Intercontinental Exchange to use NYMEX’s market prices for ICE’s transaction settlements? Isn’t that equivalent to declaring that NYMEX does not have a property right in its own market prices?

ICE has argued consistently that NYMEX is simply trying to assert copyright over their prices to erect an entry barrier and to thwart competition. NYMEX argues that they have a clear property right to the prices that emerge from their market transactions.

The courts have consistently supported ICE’s use of NYMEX’s prices. Is this the equivalent of treating financial market prices as a common-pool resource?

One thought on “Prices Aren’t Always Property

  1. What seems to me to be a crucial difference is that NYMEX is neither a buyer nor a seller, merely a forum for others to buy and sell.

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