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

Everything You Think You Know About Thomas Edison Might Be Wrong

“Edison did not ‘invent’ the light bulb in any meaningful sense. What Edison really did well was commercialize the invention.” — Mark Lemley, Professor, Stanford University


Mark Lemley
Source: U.S. Science News
November 10, 2013

In Battle Against Patent Abuse, Vermont Is Troll Hunting

"The problems the patent system is seeing now date back to the 1990s, when high-growth Internet and computer technology companies filed for thousands of patents that now seem over-broad and outdated." — James Bessen, Lecturer, Boston University School of Law


James Bessen
Source: Vermont’s NPR News Source
September 30, 2013

Record Label Picks Copyright Fight — With The Wrong Guy

"What we've got is this computerized system threatening people about content that's on the Web, much of it legally on the Web." — Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law, Harvard University


Lawrence Lessig
Source: National Public Radio’s All Tech Considered
September 27, 2013

If Our Top Patent Court Screws Up Slipper Patents, How Can It Rule Sensibly on Smartphones?

"Like its utility patent doctrines, the Federal Circuit's design patent doctrines systematically uphold patents that should never have been granted in the first place, giving trolls and titans the ability to extort settlements and muscle out the competition." — James Grimmelmann, Director of the Intellectual Property Program, University of Maryland


James Grimmelmann
Source: The Washington Post
September 24, 2013

Apple Wins Patent Ruling Against Samsung

"Coupled with the veto, it definitely puts Samsung back on the defensive." — Mark Lemley, Professor, Stanford Law School


Mark Lemley
Source: Chicago Tribune
August 9, 2013

Patent Case Has Potential to Give Apple the Upper Hand

The article details the upcoming ruling expected from the U.S. International Trade Commission on whether it will uphold a preliminary finding that Samsung mobile products violated a handful of Apple patents. Professor Robert Merges, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, is quoted.


Robert Merges
Source: The New York Times
August 8, 2013

Apple, Samsung's Next Big Showdown Could Reshape Patent Law

"It could fundamentally change the way the patent system works in the (technology) industries." — Mark Lemley, Professor, Stanford Law School


Mark Lemley
Source: Silicon Valley
August 6, 2013

Microsoft to Drop ‘SkyDrive’ in Trademark Settlement

“The idea that consumers would be confused into thinking that SkyDrive and British Sky Broadcasting were the same thing is ludicrous. ... I think Microsoft simply decided that keeping the name wasn’t worth the additional time and uncertainty of an appeal.” — Mark Lemley, Professor, Stanford Law School


Mark Lemley
Source: The Seattle Times
August 1, 2013

Here’s Why Economists Hate Software Patents

The article looks at economist and patent lawyers’ thoughts on the value of patent protection for software. Law professor Doug Lichtman, UCLA, is quoted.


Doug Lichtman
Source: The Washington Post
July 31, 2013

Digital Books Are Under the Control of Distributors Rather than Readers

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.


Jonathan Zittrain
Source: Wired
July 7, 2013
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TAP Blog

Northwestern Professor Daniel Spulber Makes a Case for Patents

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.

TAP Staff Blogger

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.

Featured Article

Copyright for Literate Robots

Increasingly, written works are read or written by robots. Many copyright cases conclude that robots can “read” works without infringing copyright law. These cases were correct, but discourage online service providers (OSPs) from using humans to analyze online content.

By: James Grimmelmann