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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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TAP Blog

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.
Harvard’s Josh Lerner and Stanford’s Amit Seru share findings from their recent work with Nick Short and Yuan Sun to identify who the innovators and patent awardees are within the financial technology sector.
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.
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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.

Quote

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

Open Source Software: The New Intellectual Property Paradigm

This paper reviews how open source software development works.

By: Suzanne Scotchmer, Stephen M. Maurer