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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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Professor Joshua Gans, Rotman School of Management, discusses the rise of the game 2048 very closely on the heels of a similar game called, Threes. He examines the desire by Threes’ creators for acknowledgment of their app development by those who follow with imitations.
Professor James Grimmelmann, University of Maryland, explains why he wrote an amicus brief (with David Post) arguing that Aereo should win its Supreme Court case. Aereo is a startup that lets users stream or record live broadcast TV content.
In their article “The Nature and Incidence of Software Piracy: Evidence from Windows,” Professors Susan Athey (Stanford) and Scott Stern (MIT) explore how consumers most commonly pirate software. The authors also looked into the impact of enforcement actions against popular pirating websites. This post summarizes their findings.
Google has announced a plan to sell Motorola to Lenovo for just under three billion dollars. Professor Shane Greenstein, Northwestern University, explains how this business transaction is connected to the Nortel patent bidding war held by a bankruptcy court two years ago.
Leading economists are exploring technology patents, licensing through standard-setting organizations (SSOs), and how FRAND terms impact innovation. Recent studies and articles by economic thought-leaders are summarized.
What is a ‘fair’ royalty for the use of patented technologies incorporated in a technical standard like Wi-Fi? A Toulouse School of Economics conference held on 16 May 2013 addressed this issue at the heart of modern technology markets.
Professor Ed Felten, Director of the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University, reviews the top tech policy stories of 2013.
Law professor Eric Goldman, Santa Clara University, examines Judge Chin’s dismissal of the Authors Guild lawsuit against Google which claimed that the Googles Books project violates the copyright fair-use doctrine.
In an article written for The Washington Post, James Bessen, Boston University, explains why he believes the patent crisis is mostly about software patents.
To commemorate the twenty-first anniversary of the landmark decision on copyright protection for software, Computer Associates v Altai, the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology hosted a day long roundtable discussion. “Altai @ 21: Software Copyrights Revisited” gathered leading academics and practitioners to discuss the decision’s legacy and the upcoming appellate decision in Oracle v Google.
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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

Lofi Girl Disappeared from YouTube and Reignited Debate Over Bogus Copyright Claims

“We ended up with this system because in the 1990s, when the contours of the internet and copyright are still coming into view, this is the compromise that representatives of the copyright industries and the internet industries worked out.” — James Grimmelmann, Professor of Law, Cornell University

James Grimmelmann
NPR
July 16, 2022

Featured Article

Law, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will be widely used for social and commercial purposes. AR and VR will sometimes be used to harm others, testing the limits of criminal, civil, and constitutional law.

By: Mark Lemley, Eugene Volokh