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

Louis C.K. Is Trying to Outlaw Leaks. Can He Do That?

"It’s overreaching in terms of copyright law. The law grants certain rights, but it withholds certain others." — Jeanne Fromer, Professor of Law, New York University


Jeanne Fromer
Source: The New York Times
May 9, 2019

Changing U.S. Patent Policy on Tech Standards Stirs Concerns

"The best way to resolve this issue is not to change policy approaches." — Mark Lemley, Professor of Law, Stanford University


Mark Lemley
Source: Bloomberg Law
December 26, 2018

Our Pick of the Decade’s Eight Best Young Economists

The Economist names MIT’s Heidi Williams among "the decade's eight best young economists." Professor Williams is lauded for her pursuit of a "more rigorous understanding of technological progress in medicine and health care."


Heidi Williams
Source: The Economist
December 18, 2018

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
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TAP Blog

Innovation, Intellectual Property and China

Josh Lerner, Harvard Business School, presents his recent research on intellectual property rights and innovation in China.

Josh Lerner

Upcoming Events

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Fact Sheets

Piracy and IP Enforcement

In the context of technology, “piracy” is a colloquial term for the illegal copying of copyrighted works. The related problem of counterfeiting is the illegal reproduction of patented or trademarked products.

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