Today (April 26th) is World Intellectual Property Day. Designated in 2001 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), World IP Day was formed to address the perceived gap between intellectual property (IP) as a business or legal concept and its relevance to people’s lives. For example, the Wright Brothers’ fascination with flight led to a flying machine and travel by air, and Louis Pasteur’s work advanced the science of disease prevention.
In the realm of software and intellectual property, here are just a few important innovations that have had a great impact on the computing industry, and everyone who uses computers. Boolean Algebra was developed by George Boole in 1845. It is a system for symbolic and logical reasoning, and became the basis of computing. In 1964, IBM’s Magnetic Tape/Selectric Typewriter combined the features of the Selectric typewriter with a magnetic tape drive and became the first “word processor.” Furthermore, the development of object-oriented (OO) programming in 1967 introduced computer programming constructs of objects, classes, virtual procedures, and inheritance. OO programming proved invaluable later when graphical user interfaces became widely used.
In honor of World IP Day, TAP is highlighting a few scholars with expertise in intellectual property, patents, copyright, and trademarks.
Doug Lichtman – Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
Professor Lichtman focuses his teaching and research on topics relating to law and technology. His areas of specialty include patent and copyright law, telecommunications regulation, and information strategy and economics.
Professor Lichtman hosts the Intellectual Property Colloquium, an online audio program devoted to intellectual property topics. The Federal Trade Commission episode discussed the FTC’s report on patent system reform with two of the principal drafters. In YouTube, MyTake, Professor Lichtman tackles the question of whether Google should be held responsible for the copyright infringement that its YouTube website facilitates.
Mark Lemley – Professor of Law, Stanford University School of Law
Widely recognized as a preeminent scholar of intellectual property law, Professor Lemley is an accomplished litigator—having litigated cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, and federal circuit courts—as well as a prolific writer with more than 100 published articles and six books.
Professor Lemley looks at the arguments for stronger intellectual property rights in his article, Ex Ante versus Ex Post Justifications for Intellectual Property, and he considers how intellectual property laws relate to competition policy with A New Balance Between IP and Antitrust. In Software and Internet Law, Professor Lemley and TAP colleagues Peter Menell, Robert Merges, and Pamela Samuelson have compiled a comprehensive look at laws relating to software and the internet, including intellectual property and copyright laws.
Pam Samuelson – Director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology and Professor of Law & Information, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
Professor Samuelson is recognized as a pioneer in digital copyright law, intellectual property, cyberlaw and information policy. Her articles, Google Book Search and the Future of Books in Cyberspace and The Google Book Settlement as Copyright Reform are must-reads that put the settlement in the larger context of modern digital copyright law. Rounding out this trilogy, Legislative Alternatives to the Google Book Settlement discusses a possible way forward. In other copyright issues, Professor Samuelson looks at how copyright protection of standards often creates a conflict between private intellectual property rights and society’s needs for standards in Questioning Copyright in Standards.
Peter Menell – Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law
Professor Menell has written extensively on intellectual property, cyberlaw, and environmental law, and has examined economic aspects of intellectual property and environmental regulation. In Intellectual Property in the New Technological Age Professor Menell and co-authors Mark Lemley and Robert Merges surveyed key cases and laws relating to intellectual property. With co-author Suzanne Scotchmer, Professor Menell surveyed research on the economics of intellectual property in order to understand the real economic effect of Intellectual Property Law.
Robert Merges – Professor of Law and Technology and Director at the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, University of California, Berkeley
In addition to teaching and research projects, Professor Merges also serves as a special consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, and is a member of the Department's Task Force on Intellectual Property. In his article, IP Rights and Technological Platforms, Professor Merges looks at how to reconcile the rights of owners of popular technology platforms with the needs of users. Given the widely held belief that Intellectual property can help economic growth, Professor Merges reviewed two careful studies of how copyright and patents help creators in Now and Then, Here and There: A Review Essay on Khan, The Democratization of Invention, and Blind, et al....
John Duffy – Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
Professor Duffy teaches torts, administrative law, patent law, and international intellectual property law. In his paper, Inventing Invention: A Case Study of Legal Innovation, he relates how ideas about what should be patentable have changed over time. With co-author Michael Abramowicz, Professor Duffy argues intellectual property law should (and does, somewhat) protect the results of market experimentation in Intellectual Property for Market Experimentation.
For more information on patents, TAP has two fact sheets that examine software patents and patent reform. To see the TAP scholars with expertise in IP and view an extensive list of articles that examine the many facets of intellectual property, patents, copyright, and trademarks, see TAP’s intellectual property issues page.