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.

Featured Article

Trading and Enforcing Patent Rights

We study how the market for innovation affects enforcement of patent rights.

By: Alberto Galasso, Carlos J. Serrano, Mark Schankerman

Fact Sheets

Software Patents

A patent provides an exclusive legal right to an invention for a limited period of time, in exchange for public disclosure of that innovation. As with other property rights, patents may be sold, transferred, or licensed for a third party’s use.

TAP Blog

Do Patents Stifle Cumulative Innovation?

Professor Joshua Gans, Rotman School of Management, discusses a new paper by Bhaven Sampat and Heidi Williams that measures the impact of patents on follow-on innovations.

Joshua Gans

Quote

The Lesson of the Power Loom

"During the early stage of a major new technology, inventors share designs and knowledge and patent little; later, things become more competitive and patents play a larger role. As technologies mature, firms share less and patent more." — James Bessen, Lecturer, Boston University School of Law

James Bessen
Slate
May 21, 2014