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

Do patents in the software and Internet industries encourage or impede innovation? Early this month Silicon Flatirons brought together leaders in government, industry, practice, and academia to discuss how law and policy for software patents should evolve to best promote innovation. Their conference, “Software Patents and Their Challenges,” is summarized in this post.
Law professors D. Daniel Sokol and Wentong Zheng, both of the University of Florida - Levin College of Law, have a new paper out that discusses antitrust-related FRAND issues in China.
Do patents in the software and Internet industries encourage or impede innovation? To further understand the arguments of this debate, Silicon Flatirons hosted a conference early this month on Software Patents and Their Challenges. Excerpts from the first panel on the effect of software patents on innovation are presented in this post. TAP scholars Pamela Samuelson and Phil Weiser participated in the discussion.
Professor James Grimmelmann shows how the Federal Circuit court has weakened design patent law in his Washington Post article, “If Our Top Patent Court Screws Up Slipper Patents, How Can It Rule Sensibly on Smartphones?”
Due to the growing importance of mobile devices, app stores are among the most powerful intermediaries in the Internet ecosystem. Last week, in an unprecedented ruling, a federal court held that an app store wasn’t liable for the third party apps it distributed. This highlights the significant restrictions facing the pro-regulatory folks who want to turn app store operators into Internet cops.
Professor Mark Lemley’s new paper challenges the conventional wisdom that short trials favor patentees and questions whether trial location determines the outcome. In “Rush to Judgment? Trial Length and Outcomes in Patent Cases,” Professor Lemley and his co-authors discuss findings from their comprehensive study of every patent trial conducted in the United States between January 1, 2000, and June 30, 2011.
In his article for Wired magazine, Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain examines issues of censorship, content altering, and access restrictions that are unique to books in electronic formats.
Today (Monday, July 15th, 2013) economics professor Carl Shapiro, UC Berkeley, discusses the recent efforts from the Obama Administration to protect innovators from frivolous litigation brought by patent-assertion entities.
TAP recently spoke with Professor Mike Ananny about his academic expertise in networked journalism. He discussed how technology intertwines with journalism, his work creating technological toys for language acquisition, and the topic of his next book.
Professor Polk Wagner participated in a conversation about the Prenda lawsuits on Penn Law’s “This Week in Law” podcast. The discussion covered online copyright infringement, copyright trolls, and the specifics of the Prenda lawsuit.
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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.


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
July 16, 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