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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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Sonia Katyal and Charles Graves Explore the Use of Trade Secrecy to Conceal Algorithmic Decisionmaking

In their article, “From Trade Secrecy to Seclusion,” UC Berkeley law professor Sonia Katyal and UC Hastings adjunct law professor Charles Graves argue that trade secret law is being applied beyond its intended purpose of protecting intellectual property and increasingly being used as a tool for open-ended concealment.

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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.

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Waymo Sues State DMV to Keep Robotaxi Safety Details Secret

“Corporate and government actors have pushed to transform the law of trade secrecy into one of the most — if not the most — powerful tools to ensure concealment of information.” — Sonia Katyal, Professor of Law, UC Berkeley

Sonia Katyal
Los Angeles Times
January 28, 2022

Featured Article

Reconceptualizing Copyright's Merger Doctrine

The “Merger Doctrine” is a defense to a charge of copyright infringement. Some ideas can only be expressed a certain way; courts say that the idea merges with the author’s choice of expression. Merger is important in many cases, including those involving software and depictions of nature.

By: Pamela Samuelson