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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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Quotes

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

Who Can't Tweet About #Rio2016?

"I think that trying to tell companies that they can't use the hashtag #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA in their tweets, most of the time they're going far afield of what the law permits and when companies use the ambiguities of trademark law to try and squelch socially beneficial conversation, I call that bullying." — Eric Goldman, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University


Eric Goldman
Source: BBC News
July 31, 2016

Google’s Fair Use Victory Is Good for Open Source

"Developers of software need some simple norms to live by. One such norm is that independent reimplementation of an API in one's own original code does not infringe copyright. That's the law as well as good public policy." — Pamela Samuelson, Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley


Pamela Samuelson
Source: Ars Technica
June 2, 2016

The Best Way to Fight a Patent Demand May Be to Do Nothing

"Research suggests that the harms from patent demands often flow not from the fact of being sued, but from being in a drawn-out, expensive dispute. Stories of small companies winning in the courtroom, but spending so much time and money on a case that they damage their business, are unfortunately commonplace." — Colleen Chien, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University


Colleen Chien
Source: Wall Street Journal
November 23, 2015

DoJ Argues Against Google's Java Appeal

"Contrary to what the brief says, interfaces are meaningfully different from implementations; this is first-semester computer science. The [Solicitor General's] office didn't have to mush them together to make its argument that this case should be dealt with through fair use rather than through copyrightability. That it did so raises the concern that the DOJ is giving advice on a technology it doesn't understand. And given how important software is to the economy, that's truly frightening." — James Grimmelmann, Professor of Law, University of Maryland


James Grimmelmann
Source: Information Week
May 27, 2015

Alice Is Killing the Trolls -- But Expect Patent Lawyers to Strike Back

"We may be going back to the world of the 1980s; not only the patentable subject matter world but maybe also in claiming and means plus function claims." — Mark Lemley, Professor of Law, Stanford University


Mark Lemley
Source: InfoWorld
September 18, 2014

New Authors Alliance Wants to Ease Some Copyright Rules

"Copyright law is so strict, stretching up to 95 years from publication in some cases, that without the right to digitize it we are in jeopardy of losing our long-term cultural and intellectual history." — Pamela Samuelson, Professor of Law, UC Berkeley


Pamela Samuelson
Source: SFGate
May 31, 2014

The Lesson of the Power Loom

"During the early stage of a major new technology, inventors share designs and knowledge and patent little; later, things become more competitive and patents play a larger role. As technologies mature, firms share less and patent more." — James Bessen, Lecturer, Boston University School of Law


James Bessen
Source: Slate
May 21, 2014

States Revise Laws to Curb 'Patent Trolls'

"The vast majority of these lawsuits are from bottom-feeders that send out letters to all sorts of small companies."  — James Bessen, Lecturer, Boston University School of Law


James Bessen
Source: Wall Street Journal
May 21, 2014

States Revise Laws to Curb 'Patent Trolls'

Forty percent of small firms that received demand letters from patent trolls delayed hiring, changed their product or business strategy or had other "significant" impacts on their operations, according to a 2012 study by Colleen Chien, an assistant professor of law at Santa Clara University who now works in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.


Colleen Chien
Source: Wall Street Journal
May 21, 2014
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TAP Blog

The Importance of Markets for Technology for Innovation – New Study by Daniel Spulber and Pere Arque'-Castells

In a recent paper, Professors Daniel Spulber, Northwestern University, and Pere Arqueยด-Castells, University of Groningen, show that some of the external benefits of R&D are transmitted through markets for technology.

TAP Staff Blogger

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Fact Sheets

Patent Reform

A patent is an exclusive legal right to own and market an invention or improvement for a limited period of time, in exchange for public disclosure of the invention.

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