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

Record Label Picks Copyright Fight — With The Wrong Guy

"What we've got is this computerized system threatening people about content that's on the Web, much of it legally on the Web." — Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law, Harvard University


Lawrence Lessig
Source: National Public Radio’s All Tech Considered
September 27, 2013

If Our Top Patent Court Screws Up Slipper Patents, How Can It Rule Sensibly on Smartphones?

"Like its utility patent doctrines, the Federal Circuit's design patent doctrines systematically uphold patents that should never have been granted in the first place, giving trolls and titans the ability to extort settlements and muscle out the competition." — James Grimmelmann, Director of the Intellectual Property Program, University of Maryland


James Grimmelmann
Source: The Washington Post
September 24, 2013

Apple Wins Patent Ruling Against Samsung

"Coupled with the veto, it definitely puts Samsung back on the defensive." — Mark Lemley, Professor, Stanford Law School


Mark Lemley
Source: Chicago Tribune
August 9, 2013

Patent Case Has Potential to Give Apple the Upper Hand

The article details the upcoming ruling expected from the U.S. International Trade Commission on whether it will uphold a preliminary finding that Samsung mobile products violated a handful of Apple patents. Professor Robert Merges, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, is quoted.


Robert Merges
Source: The New York Times
August 8, 2013

Apple, Samsung's Next Big Showdown Could Reshape Patent Law

"It could fundamentally change the way the patent system works in the (technology) industries." — Mark Lemley, Professor, Stanford Law School


Mark Lemley
Source: Silicon Valley
August 6, 2013

Microsoft to Drop ‘SkyDrive’ in Trademark Settlement

“The idea that consumers would be confused into thinking that SkyDrive and British Sky Broadcasting were the same thing is ludicrous. ... I think Microsoft simply decided that keeping the name wasn’t worth the additional time and uncertainty of an appeal.” — Mark Lemley, Professor, Stanford Law School


Mark Lemley
Source: The Seattle Times
August 1, 2013

Here’s Why Economists Hate Software Patents

The article looks at economist and patent lawyers’ thoughts on the value of patent protection for software. Law professor Doug Lichtman, UCLA, is quoted.


Doug Lichtman
Source: The Washington Post
July 31, 2013

Digital Books Are Under the Control of Distributors Rather than Readers

In his article for Wired magazine, Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain examines issues of censorship, content altering, and access restrictions that are unique to books in electronic formats.


Jonathan Zittrain
Source: Wired
July 7, 2013

Rooting for an Unlikely Patent Troll, Kim DotCom

A paper written by James Bessen, Michael J. Meurer, and Jennifer Ford is referenced in this article that examines claims of patent infringement by Kim DotCom. Mr. DotCom is the notorious Internet entrepreneur who founded Megaupload.com, which was accused of enabling and abetting copyright infringement through users uploading and downloading music and videos on a massive scale.


James Bessen
Source: Network World
May 28, 2013

Disney Withdraws Attempt to Trademark the Name of a Holiday

… Disney would probably have had to prove that the phrase “Día de los Muertos” had a specific Pixar-only meaning in order to be successful in applying for a trademark. “We don’t want to give terms too wide a protection if they don’t have any sort of significance for the consumer.” — Marshall Leaffer, Intellectual property law expert, Maurer School of Law


Marshall Leaffer
Source: Time
May 8, 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

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.

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