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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Quotes

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
Source: Los Angeles Times
January 28, 2022

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
Source: Ars Technica
October 8, 2020

Lawsuit Over Online Book Lending Could Bankrupt Internet Archive

“It seems like the publishers have a pretty strong case. I think there are arguments for fair use, but they're not terribly strong arguments.”
 — James Grimmelmann, Professor of Law, Cornell University
James Grimmelmann
Source: Ars Technica
June 1, 2020

Louis C.K. Is Trying to Outlaw Leaks. Can He Do That?

"It’s overreaching in terms of copyright law. The law grants certain rights, but it withholds certain others." — Jeanne Fromer, Professor of Law, New York University


Jeanne Fromer
Source: The New York Times
May 9, 2019

Changing U.S. Patent Policy on Tech Standards Stirs Concerns

"The best way to resolve this issue is not to change policy approaches." — Mark Lemley, Professor of Law, Stanford University


Mark Lemley
Source: Bloomberg Law
December 26, 2018

Our Pick of the Decade’s Eight Best Young Economists

The Economist names MIT’s Heidi Williams among "the decade's eight best young economists." Professor Williams is lauded for her pursuit of a "more rigorous understanding of technological progress in medicine and health care."


Heidi Williams
Source: The Economist
December 18, 2018

Buying Bitcoin Led Patent Mega-Millionaire to an Even Bigger Investing Idea

"If they can screen out bad patents, the application becomes more attractive to potential licensees. The value of his system is how much noise there is. I know there's lots of bad patents out there." — Mark Schankerman, Professor of Economics, London School of Economics


Mark Schankerman
Source: CNBC
January 12, 2018

Patent ‘Trolls’ Recede as Threat to Innovation. Will Justices Change That?

"It probably hasn’t made patent trolls go away, but it’s changed their demands. Now they sue and ask for $50,000 rather than sue and ask for $1 million." — Mark Lemley, Professor of Law, Stanford University


Mark Lemley
Source: The New York Times
November 21, 2017

In Michigan, A Highway Sign Is at Center of an Unusual Trademark Dispute

"But there's at least a question, as far as I can tell, as to whether a road sign of this type would be deemed an official insignia of a state. I think that might be a little bit hard for the state to prove here." — Mark Janis, Professor of Law, Indiana University


Mark Janis
Source: National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition
November 1, 2016

Instagram’s Snapchat Ripoff Is Brazen and Totally Fine

"The idea of featured ‘Stories’ is not new, so any patents would likely be quite specific to implementation details. And because the implementation/interfaces are slightly different, copyright doesn’t provide any protection. This is an area where IP laws don’t prevent the copying of another’s features or innovations." — R. Polk Wagner, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania


R. Polk Wagner
Source: Wired
August 2, 2016
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TAP Blog

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.

TAP Staff Blogger

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.

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