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

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

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
Source: Slate
May 21, 2014

States Revise Laws to Curb 'Patent Trolls'

"The vast majority of these lawsuits are from bottom-feeders that send out letters to all sorts of small companies."  — James Bessen, Lecturer, Boston University School of Law


James Bessen
Source: Wall Street Journal
May 21, 2014

States Revise Laws to Curb 'Patent Trolls'

Forty percent of small firms that received demand letters from patent trolls delayed hiring, changed their product or business strategy or had other "significant" impacts on their operations, according to a 2012 study by Colleen Chien, an assistant professor of law at Santa Clara University who now works in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.


Colleen Chien
Source: Wall Street Journal
May 21, 2014

Patent Data Missing in Troll Debate

"Right now it's like the fear of the unknown -- we actually don't know that much about patents despite a large amount of study." — Daniel Spulber, Research Director, Searle Center on Law, Regulation and Economic Growth


Daniel Spulber
Source: EE Times
March 12, 2014

Siding With Google, Judge Says Book Search Does Not Infringe Copyright

“What seemed insanely ambitious and this huge effort that seemed very dangerous in 2004 now seems ordinary. Technology and media have moved on so much that it’s just not a big deal.” — James Grimmelmann, Law professor, University of Maryland


James Grimmelmann
Source: The New York Times
November 14, 2013

Everything You Think You Know About Thomas Edison Might Be Wrong

“Edison did not ‘invent’ the light bulb in any meaningful sense. What Edison really did well was commercialize the invention.” — Mark Lemley, Professor, Stanford University


Mark Lemley
Source: U.S. Science News
November 10, 2013

In Battle Against Patent Abuse, Vermont Is Troll Hunting

"The problems the patent system is seeing now date back to the 1990s, when high-growth Internet and computer technology companies filed for thousands of patents that now seem over-broad and outdated." — James Bessen, Lecturer, Boston University School of Law


James Bessen
Source: Vermont’s NPR News Source
September 30, 2013
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TAP Blog

What Are the Most Effective Policies for Stimulating Technological Innovation?

In “A Toolkit of Policies to Promote Innovation,” Professors Nicholas Bloom, John Van Reenen, and Heidi Williams present a number of the main innovation policy levers to energize technological innovation.

TAP Staff Blogger

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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

How Does the Use of Trademarks by Third-Party Sellers Affect Online Search?

This paper examines the effects of trademark use in advertisements by third-party resellers.

By: Lesley Chiou, Catherine Tucker