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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Rooting for an Unlikely Patent Troll, Kim DotCom

A paper written by James Bessen, Michael J. Meurer, and Jennifer Ford is referenced in this article that examines claims of patent infringement by Kim DotCom. Mr. DotCom is the notorious Internet entrepreneur who founded, which was accused of enabling and abetting copyright infringement through users uploading and downloading music and videos on a massive scale.

James Bessen
Source: Network World
May 28, 2013

Disney Withdraws Attempt to Trademark the Name of a Holiday

… Disney would probably have had to prove that the phrase “Día de los Muertos” had a specific Pixar-only meaning in order to be successful in applying for a trademark. “We don’t want to give terms too wide a protection if they don’t have any sort of significance for the consumer.” — Marshall Leaffer, Intellectual property law expert, Maurer School of Law

Marshall Leaffer
Source: Time
May 8, 2013

How the America Invents Act Will Change Patenting Forever

"It’s a big deal, and all the patent attorneys I know are busy right now, filing applications before that goes into effect, Saturday, which tells me that most of their clients are better off under the old system." — Robert Barr, Executive Director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology

Robert Barr
Source: Wired
March 14, 2013

Samsung’s Patent Spat With Apple Spurs U.S. Lobbying Push

"Samsung is being sued left and right. A major component of their business is smartphones, and this is becoming a very litigious area." — R. Polk Wagner, Professor, University of Pennsylvania

R. Polk Wagner
Source: Bloomberg
March 6, 2013

As Pirates Run Rampant, TV Studios Dial Up Pursuit

"It has taken the arrival of high-speed broadband to make that [pirating TV shows] attractive." — James Grimmelmann, Professor, New York University

James Grimmelmann
Source: Wall Street Journal
March 2, 2013

Six strikes, then what? A look into the new Copyright Alert System

The Copyright Alert System is a collaborative effort to curb online piracy and promote the lawful use of digital music, movies and TV shows. Professor Jonathan Zittrain, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University, explains aspects of the system.

Jonathan Zittrain
Source: NPR’s Marketplace
February 28, 2013

Piracy Alert System Raises Concerns About Fair Use, Misidentification

This story discusses the new Copyright Alert System; it's a collaborative effort to curb online piracy and promote the lawful use of digital music, movies and TV shows. Professor James Grimmelmann, New York University, explains aspects of the system.

James Grimmelmann
Source: NPR’s All Things Considered
February 26, 2013

Aaron Swartz: Opening Access to Knowledge

"There was a time when access to knowledge was promoted through grants of copyrights to authors who typically transferred them to publishers. Now copyright has become the single most serious impediment to access to knowledge. Academic authors, among others, should use the Internet as a medium through which access to knowledge can be greatly expanded." — Pamela Samuelson, Professor, University of California Berkeley

Pamela Samuelson
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
January 24, 2013

“Aaron's law,” Congressional Investigation in Wake of Swartz Suicide

"This is a CRITICALLY important change that would do incredible good. The CFAA was the hook for the government's bullying of @aaronsw. This law would remove that hook." — Lawrence Lessig, Professor, Harvard University

Lawrence Lessig
Source: Ars Technica
January 15, 2013

Apple Bid for Samsung Sales Ban Faces Skeptical Court

"It will be hard to convince the Federal Circuit to revisit the injunction issue because the legal arguments involved are not among those that have caused the most recent controversy at the court." — R. Polk Wagner, Professor, University of Pennsylvania

R. Polk Wagner
Source: Reuters
January 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

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

Speech Across Borders

Several courts have ordered online service providers to take down content worldwide. Other rules restrict speech depending on the nationality and location of the speaker. Tech firms also curate content on a global scale.

By: Jennifer Daskal