Intellectual Property

Patents

A patent provides protection for an invention to the owner of the patent. The protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years. Patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without the patent owner's consent.

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Quotes

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

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when high-growth Internet and computer technology companies filed for thousands of patents that now seem over-broad and outdated."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

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

The Patent Troll Crisis Is Really a Software Patent Crisis

"Today, the explosion of patent troll litigation provides stark evidence that old patent doctrines are not providing clear boundaries for information technology. The resolution will require substantial changes to the way the law treats software patents." — James Bessen, Lecturer in Law, Boston University School of Law


James Bessen
Source: The Washington Post
September 3, 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

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

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
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TAP Blog

Northwestern Professor Daniel Spulber Makes a Case for Patents

The Case for Patents, a new book by Northwestern University business and law professor Daniel Spulber, emphasizes the importance of incentives for invention, innovation, and technology adoption.

TAP Staff Blogger

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

How Essential are Standard-Essential Patents?

Standard-essential patents (SEPs) cover technologies needed to make complex products like wi-fi. Patent trolls that assert SEPs in court win few cases, often because the patent was not actually infringed.

By: Mark Lemley, Tim S. Simcoe