392 research outputs found

    Are Universities Patent Trolls?

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    Hold-up is a primary component of patent litigation and patent licensing today. Universities are engaged in an unprecedented surge in patenting. At the confluence of these seemingly unrelated developments is a growing frustration on the part of industry with the role of universities as patent owners. Time and again, when I talk to people in a variety of industries, their view is that universities are the new patent trolls. In this article, I argue that universities should take a broader view of their role in technology transfer. University technology transfer ought to have as its goal maximizing the social impact of technology, not merely maximizing the university’s licensing revenue. Sometimes those goals will coincide with the university’s short-term financial interests. Sometimes universities will maximize the impact of an invention on society by granting exclusive licenses for substantial revenue to a company that will take the invention and commercialize it. Sometimes, but not always. At other times a non-exclusive license, particularly on a basic enabling technology, will ultimately maximize the invention’s impact on society by allowing a large number of people to commercialize in different areas, to try out different things and see if they work, and the like. University policies might be made more nuanced than simply a choice between exclusive and non-exclusive licenses. For example, they might grant fieldspecific exclusivity, or exclusivity only for a limited term, or exclusivity only for commercial sales while exempting research, and they might condition continued exclusivity on achievement of certain dissemination goals. Particularly in the software context, there are many circumstances in which the social impact of technology transfer is maximized either by the university not patenting at all or by granting licenses to those patents on a royalty-free basis to all comers. Finally, I think we can learn something about the raging debate over who is a patent troll and what to do about trolls by looking at university patents. Universities are non-practicing entities. They share some characteristics with trolls, at least if the term is broadly defined, but they are not trolls. Asking what distinguishes universities from trolls can actually help us figure out what concerns us about trolls. What we ought to do is abandon the search for a group of individual companies to define as bad actors. In my view, troll is as troll does. Universities will sometimes be bad actors. So will non-manufacturing patent owners. So will manufacturing patent owners. Instead of singling out bad actors, we should focus on the bad acts and the laws that make them possible

    Should a Licensing Market Require Licensing?

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    Many circumstances fair use should separate the idea that the copyright owner should be compensated for a use from the idea that the copyright owner should be able to control that use. The licensing-market cases provide a perfect vehicle for dividing rights but if a use is considered unfair because the copyright owner could have gotten paid to permit that use, the argument may or may not justify compensating the copyright owner for the loss, but it does not justify giving the copyright owner control over the defendant\u27s use. Here, Lemley explains the development of the licensing-market rationale, critiques of that rationale, and its significance for the scope of the fair use doctrine

    Freedom of Speech and Injunctions in Intellectual Property Cases

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    Preliminary injunctions against libel, obscenity, and other kinds of speech are generally considered unconstitutional prior restraints. Even though libel may inflict truly irreparable harm on its victim, the most a libel plaintiff can hope for is damages, or perhaps a permanent injunction after final adjudication, not preliminary relief. Professors Lemley and Volokh argue the same rule should apply to preliminary injunctions in many copyright, trademark, right of publicity, and trade secret cases. They note that intellectual property rights, unlike other property rights, are a form of content-based, government-imposed speech restriction. The mere fact that the restriction is denominated a property right should not exempt it from conventional First Amendment scrutiny, or justify government action that restricts speech which ultimately proves to be constitutionally protected. This is especially so because in most cases, damages would be a relatively effective remedy. The Court\u27s prior restraint doctrine and sound First Amendment policy suggest that preliminary injunctions in intellectual property cases are often (though not always) unconstitutional

    Patent Scope and Innovation in the Software Industry

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    Software patents have received a great deal of attention in the academic literature. Unfortunately, most of that attention has been devoted to the problem of whether software is or should be patentable subject matter. With roughly eighty thousand software patents already issued, and the Federal Circuit endorsing patentability without qualification, those questions are for the history books. The more pressing questions now concern the scope to be accorded software patents. In this Article, we examine the implications of some traditional patent law doctrines for innovation in the software industry. We argue that patent law needs some refinement if it is to promote rather than impede the growth of this new market, which is characterized by rapid sequential innovation, reuse and re-combination of components, and strong network effects that privilege interoperable components and products

    Patenting Nanotechnology (Program)

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    Privacy, Property, and Publicity

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    Review of Jennifer E. Rothman\u27s The Right of Publicity: Privacy Reimagined for a Public World

    Dealing with Overlapping Copyrights in the Internet

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    Symposium: Copyright Owners\u27 Rights and Users\u27 Privileges on the Interne
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