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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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

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
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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 Arque´-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

A Simple Approach to Setting Reasonable Royalties for Standard-Essential Patents

This article suggests binding arbitration as a way to resolve disputes arising within standard-setting organizations.

By: Mark Lemley, Carl Shapiro