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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TAP Blog

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.
A selection of articles recently written by TAP scholars explore AI and the impact on privacy, how to safeguard privacy and security in an interconnected world, digital platforms and antitrust, and patent reform to support innovation.
Heidi Williams and Lisa Larrimore Ouellette, both with Stanford University, propose two modest changes the USPTO can implement to address shortcomings in the US patent system.
Berkeley law professor Pamela Samuelson’s recent article examines proposed reforms of the DMCA’s safe harbor rules that limit the liability of ISPs hosting user-generated content. Professor Samuelson urges Congress to “take a balanced approach” and “consider the interests of a wide range of stakeholders”.
A selection of articles recently written by TAP scholars explore AI and business competition, autonomous vehicles, how privacy regulation could support innovation, privacy interfaces focused on peoples’ needs, and licensing standard-essential patents for 5G telecommunications.
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.
Stanford economist Heidi Williams investigates how US patent allowances affect firm performance and worker pay. Beyond simply raising average earnings, she finds that patents exacerbate within-firm inequality.
Josh Lerner, Harvard Business School, presents his recent research on intellectual property rights and innovation in China.
A new paper by Santa Clara University’s Eric Goldman and Northeastern Law’s Jessica Silbey provides a roadmap to distinguish the legitimate and illegitimate bases for protecting privacy via copyright.
In honor of World IP Day, TAP highlights a few of the articles and scholars that examine intellectual property technology-policy issues.
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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.

Quote

Google’s Supreme Court Faceoff with Oracle Was a Disaster for Google

There's a real chance the Supreme Court could focus on this issue [the copyright status of APIs] in its decision—perhaps sending the case back down to the lower courts for even more litigation. — James Grimmelmann, Professor of Law, Cornell Tech and Cornell Law School

James Grimmelmann
Ars Technica
October 8, 2020

Featured Article

Innovation Network

A survey of the citation patterns of United States patents from 1975 to 2004 shows that innovation levels in one decade strongly predict innovation levels in the next decade. When there is more past innovation in a technology class, more innovation in related technology classes follows.

By: Daron Acemoglu, Ufuk Akcigit, William R. Kerr