Issues

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) rights help creators limit who uses their work without giving value in return. This protection encourages innovation in thought and expression. Academics featured on this site research topics such as open source licensing, digital rights management, patent reform, IP and technical standards, trademarks, and trade secrets.

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Quotes

Buying Bitcoin Led Patent Mega-Millionaire to an Even Bigger Investing Idea

"If they can screen out bad patents, the application becomes more attractive to potential licensees. The value of his system is how much noise there is. I know there's lots of bad patents out there." — Mark Schankerman, Professor of Economics, London School of Economics


Mark Schankerman
Source: CNBC
January 12, 2018

Patent ‘Trolls’ Recede as Threat to Innovation. Will Justices Change That?

"It probably hasn’t made patent trolls go away, but it’s changed their demands. Now they sue and ask for $50,000 rather than sue and ask for $1 million." — Mark Lemley, Professor of Law, Stanford University


Mark Lemley
Source: The New York Times
November 21, 2017

In Michigan, A Highway Sign Is at Center of an Unusual Trademark Dispute

"But there's at least a question, as far as I can tell, as to whether a road sign of this type would be deemed an official insignia of a state. I think that might be a little bit hard for the state to prove here." — Mark Janis, Professor of Law, Indiana University


Mark Janis
Source: National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition
November 1, 2016

Instagram’s Snapchat Ripoff Is Brazen and Totally Fine

"The idea of featured ‘Stories’ is not new, so any patents would likely be quite specific to implementation details. And because the implementation/interfaces are slightly different, copyright doesn’t provide any protection. This is an area where IP laws don’t prevent the copying of another’s features or innovations." — R. Polk Wagner, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania


R. Polk Wagner
Source: Wired
August 2, 2016

Who Can't Tweet About #Rio2016?

"I think that trying to tell companies that they can't use the hashtag #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA in their tweets, most of the time they're going far afield of what the law permits and when companies use the ambiguities of trademark law to try and squelch socially beneficial conversation, I call that bullying." — Eric Goldman, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University


Eric Goldman
Source: BBC News
July 31, 2016

Google’s Fair Use Victory Is Good for Open Source

"Developers of software need some simple norms to live by. One such norm is that independent reimplementation of an API in one's own original code does not infringe copyright. That's the law as well as good public policy." — Pamela Samuelson, Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley


Pamela Samuelson
Source: Ars Technica
June 2, 2016

The Best Way to Fight a Patent Demand May Be to Do Nothing

"Research suggests that the harms from patent demands often flow not from the fact of being sued, but from being in a drawn-out, expensive dispute. Stories of small companies winning in the courtroom, but spending so much time and money on a case that they damage their business, are unfortunately commonplace." — Colleen Chien, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University


Colleen Chien
Source: Wall Street Journal
November 23, 2015

DoJ Argues Against Google's Java Appeal

"Contrary to what the brief says, interfaces are meaningfully different from implementations; this is first-semester computer science. The [Solicitor General's] office didn't have to mush them together to make its argument that this case should be dealt with through fair use rather than through copyrightability. That it did so raises the concern that the DOJ is giving advice on a technology it doesn't understand. And given how important software is to the economy, that's truly frightening." — James Grimmelmann, Professor of Law, University of Maryland


James Grimmelmann
Source: Information Week
May 27, 2015

Alice Is Killing the Trolls -- But Expect Patent Lawyers to Strike Back

"We may be going back to the world of the 1980s; not only the patentable subject matter world but maybe also in claiming and means plus function claims." — Mark Lemley, Professor of Law, Stanford University


Mark Lemley
Source: InfoWorld
September 18, 2014

New Authors Alliance Wants to Ease Some Copyright Rules

"Copyright law is so strict, stretching up to 95 years from publication in some cases, that without the right to digitize it we are in jeopardy of losing our long-term cultural and intellectual history." — Pamela Samuelson, Professor of Law, UC Berkeley


Pamela Samuelson
Source: SFGate
May 31, 2014
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TAP Blog

TAP Scholars Work on Intellectual Property Issues

In honor of World IP Day, TAP highlights a few of the articles and scholars that examine intellectual property technology-policy issues.

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Patent Reform

A patent is an exclusive legal right to own and market an invention or improvement for a limited period of time, in exchange for public disclosure of the invention.

Featured Article

A Brief Survey of the Economics of Open Source Software

This paper reviews some key economic aspects of Open Source Software (OSS).

By: Neil Gandal, Chaim Fershtman