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Full-Text Articles in Law

Prior Art In The District Court, Stephen Yelderman Jan 2019

Prior Art In The District Court, Stephen Yelderman

Journal Articles

This article is an empirical study of the evidence district courts rely upon when invalidating patents. To construct our dataset, we collected every district court ruling, verdict form, and opinion (whether reported or unreported) invalidating a patent claim over a six-and-a-half-year period. We then coded individual invalidation events based on the prior art supporting the court’s analysis. In the end, we observed 3,320 invalidation events based on 817 distinct prior art references.

The nature of the prior art relied upon to invalidate patents informs the value of district court litigation as an error correction tool. The public interest ...


Prior Art In Inter Partes Review, Stephen Yelderman Jan 2019

Prior Art In Inter Partes Review, Stephen Yelderman

Journal Articles

This Essay is an empirical study of the evidence the Patent Trial and Appeal Board relies upon when cancelling patents in inter partes review. To construct our dataset, we collected every final written decision invalidating a patent claim over a twelve-month period. We coded individual invalidation events on a reference-by-reference, claim-by-claim basis. Drawing on this dataset, we report a number of details about the prior art supporting patent cancellation, including the frequency with which U.S. patents, foreign patents, and printed publications were cited, the frequency with which the invalidating prior art would have been amenable to a pre-filing prior ...


Comparative Analysis Of Innovation Failures And Institutions In Context, Mark Mckenna Jan 2019

Comparative Analysis Of Innovation Failures And Institutions In Context, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

Many different legal and non-legal institutions govern and therefore shape knowledge production. It is tempting, given the various types of knowledge, knowledge producers, and systems with and within which knowledge and knowledge producers and users interact, to look for reductionist shortcuts — in general but especially in the context of comparative institutional analysis. The temptation should be resisted for it leads to either what Harold Demsetz called the Nirvana Fallacy or what Elinor Ostrom critiqued as myopic allegories.

We suggest that comparative institutional analysis must be accompanied by comparative failure analysis, by which we mean rigorous and contextual comparative analysis of ...


Technical Standards Meet Administrative Law: A Teaching Guide On Incorporation By Reference, Emily S. Bremer Jan 2019

Technical Standards Meet Administrative Law: A Teaching Guide On Incorporation By Reference, Emily S. Bremer

Journal Articles

When an agency incorporates by reference, it promulgates a rule that identifies—but does not reprint—material already published elsewhere. The incorporated materials thus become binding law without actually being printed in the agency's regulations. Sometimes the incorporated materials are privately developed technical standards, which are often copyrighted and available only for a fee. This restriction on access undermines transparency and public participation in the rulemaking process. Finding a solution is challenging because the problem is multidimensional, implicating public policy in the areas of administrative law, federal standards law and policy, and copyright.

This teaching guide is part of ...


Property And Equity In Trademark Law, Mark Mckenna Jan 2019

Property And Equity In Trademark Law, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

This essay, delivered as the Nies Lecture at Marquette Law School, focuses on changes in the doctrinal structure of trademark law over the course of the last century — specifically with respect to the relationship between trademark law’s limits and the broader common law of unfair competition. Changes in that relationship, I will argue, meaningfully increased trademark law's emphasis on property — what the plaintiff owns — and deemphasized legal rules that focused on the defendant’s conduct.


Proximate Vs. Geographic Limits On Patent Damages, Stephen Yelderman Jan 2018

Proximate Vs. Geographic Limits On Patent Damages, Stephen Yelderman

Journal Articles

The exclusive rights of a U.S. patent are limited in two important ways. First, a patent has a technical scope—only the products and methods set out in the patent’s claims may constitute infringement. Second, a patent has a geographic scope—making, using, or selling the products or methods described in the patent’s claims will only constitute infringement if that activity takes place in the United States. These boundaries are foundational features of the patent system: there can be no liability for U.S. patent infringement without an act that falls within both the technical and geographic ...


Claiming Design, Mark Mckenna Jan 2018

Claiming Design, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

Design stands out among intellectual property subject matter in terms of the extent of overlapping protection available. Different forms of intellectual property usually protect different aspects of a product. In the design context, however, precisely the same features are often subject to design patent, trademark, and copyright protection-and parties commonly claim more than one of those forms. Yet, as we show, the claiming regimes of these three forms of design protection differ in significant ways: the timing of claims; claim format (particularly whether the claims are visual or verbal); the multiplicity of claims (whether and how one can make multiple ...


The Value Of Accuracy In The Patent System, Stephen Yelderman Jan 2017

The Value Of Accuracy In The Patent System, Stephen Yelderman

Journal Articles

Because it must rely on imperfect information, the patent system will inevitably make mistakes. To determine how the system ought to err in cases of uncertainty—and whether a given mistake is worth correcting—scholars have composed a simple picture of the consequences of error in either direction. On the one hand, erroneous patent awards impose unjustified costs. On the other hand, erroneous patent denials discourage successful inventors and reduce incentives to create in the future. The result is an essentially indeterminate balancing, in which policies of overly liberal awards drive up costs, and policies of overly cautious awards drive ...


What's In, And What's Out: How Ip's Boundary Rules Shape Innovation, Mark Mckenna, Christopher J. Sprigman Jan 2017

What's In, And What's Out: How Ip's Boundary Rules Shape Innovation, Mark Mckenna, Christopher J. Sprigman

Journal Articles

Intellectual property law sorts subject matter into a variety of different regimes, each with different terms of protection and different rules of protectability, infringement, and defenses. For that sorting to be effective, IP needs principles to distinguish the subject matter of each system. This paper focuses on one of the most important aspects of border-drawing that our IP system undertakes — identifying “useful” subject matter.

This aspect is critical because our IP system gives utility patent law pride of place and draws the boundaries of the other doctrines in large part to respect utility patent’s supremacy. Yet IP law’s ...


Criminal Trademark Enforcement And The Problem Of Inevitable Creep, Mark Mckenna Jan 2017

Criminal Trademark Enforcement And The Problem Of Inevitable Creep, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

This Article, delivered as the 2017 Oldham Lecture at the University of Akron School of Law, focuses on the federal Trademark Counterfeiting Act (TCA), the primary source of federal criminal trademark sanctions. That statute was intended to increase the penalties associated with the most egregious form of trademark infringement — use of an identical mark for goods identical to those for which the mark is registered and in a context in which the use is likely to deceive consumers about the actual source of the counterfeiter’s goods. The TCA was intended to ratchet up the penalties associated with counterfeiting, but ...


Introduction: Negotiating Ip's Boundaries In An Evolving World, Stephen Yelderman Jan 2017

Introduction: Negotiating Ip's Boundaries In An Evolving World, Stephen Yelderman

Journal Articles

The common element of the articles that make up this Symposium Issue is a refusal to dismiss difficult questions with mechanical formality, to paper over the wrinkles that emerge when the simple models that function in the middle flounder at the edge. As this Symposium Issue will show, those wrinkles have a lot to tell us.


Coordination-Focused Patent Policy, Stephen Yelderman Oct 2016

Coordination-Focused Patent Policy, Stephen Yelderman

Journal Articles

This Article explores the practical consequences of an important shift that has recently taken place in patent theory. Although it was long agreed that the purpose of granting patents is to reward invention, today many scholars instead attempt to justify the patent system based on its role in facilitating information exchange and enabling technical coordination among firms. This change in justification is controversial, and its viability remains a fiercely contested question. But despite intense attention at the level of theory, little has been said about the consequences of this debate for patent policy itself. This Article addresses that void, developing ...


Do Patent Challenges Increase Competition?, Stephen Yelderman Oct 2016

Do Patent Challenges Increase Competition?, Stephen Yelderman

Journal Articles

This Article is the first to seriously scrutinize the claim that patent challenges lead to increased competition. It identifies a number of conditions that must hold for a patent challenge to provide this particular benefit, and evaluates the reasonableness of assuming that the pro-competitive benefits of patent challenges are generally available. As it turns out, there are a number of ways these conditions can and regularly do fail. This Article synthesizes legal doctrine, recent empirical scholarship, and several novel case studies to identify categories of challenges in which the potential benefits for competition are smaller than previously thought or, in ...


Scope, Mark Mckenna, Mark A. Lemley Jan 2016

Scope, Mark Mckenna, Mark A. Lemley

Journal Articles

Virtually every significant legal doctrine in IP is either about whether the plaintiff has a valid IP right that the law will recognize (validity); whether the defendant's conduct violates that right (infringement); or whether the defendant is somehow privileged to violate that right (defenses). IP regimes tend to separate doctrines in these three legal categories relatively strictly. They apply different burdens of proof and persuasion to infringement and validity. In many cases they ask different actors to decide one doctrine but not the other. And even where none of that is true, the nature of IP law is to ...


Improving Patent Quality With Applicant Incentives, Stephen Yelderman Oct 2014

Improving Patent Quality With Applicant Incentives, Stephen Yelderman

Journal Articles

This Article offers an alternative approach to the widely recognized problem of low-quality patents being granted by the patent office. Traditional reforms have focused almost exclusively on making the patent office more effective at examination. This Article instead looks at patent quality from an applicant’s perspective, and evaluates how certain patent rules might be encouraging inventors to file higher or lower quality claims. It proposes a variety of reforms to take advantage of applicants’ existing interests in obtaining patents that are both broad enough to create infringing activity and narrow enough to be valid. The result is a distinctive ...


Progress And Competition In Design, Mark Mckenna, Katherine J. Strandburg Jan 2013

Progress And Competition In Design, Mark Mckenna, Katherine J. Strandburg

Journal Articles

This Article argues that applying patent-like doctrine to design makes sense only if a design patent system is premised on a patent-like conception of cumulative progress that permits patent examiners and courts to assess whether a novel design reflects a nonobvious step beyond the prior art. If there is a meaningful way to speak of such an inventive step in design, then design patent doctrine should be based on that conception. If nonobviousness has no sensible meaning in design, then a patent system cannot work for design. At present, design patent doctrine is in disarray because it is unmoored from ...


Fixing Copyright In Three Impossible Steps: Review Of How To Fix Copyright By William Patry, Mark Mckenna Jan 2013

Fixing Copyright In Three Impossible Steps: Review Of How To Fix Copyright By William Patry, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

This review of William Patry’s How to Fix Copyright highlights three of Patry's themes. First is Patry’s insistence that copyright policy be based on real-world evidence, a suggestion that should be uncontroversial but instead runs headlong into the near-religious commitments of copyright stakeholders. Second is Patry’s emphasis on the difference between the interests of creators, on the one hand, and owners of copyright interests, on the other. Third, and finally, is Patry’s focus on the copyright system’s strong tendency to entrench business models and resist change, particularly in the face of new technology.


Confusion Isn't Everything, Mark Mckenna, William Mcgeveran Jan 2013

Confusion Isn't Everything, Mark Mckenna, William Mcgeveran

Journal Articles

The typical shorthand justification for trademark rights centers on avoiding consumer confusion. But in truth, this encapsulation mistakes a method for a purpose: confusion merely serves as an indicator of the underlying problems that trademark law seeks to prevent. Other areas of law accept confusion or mistake of all kinds, intervening only when those errors lead to more serious harms. Likewise, every theory of trademark rights considers confusion troubling solely because it threatens more fundamental values such as fair competition or informative communication. In other words, when it comes to the deep purposes of trademark law, confusion isn’t everything ...


Is Pepsi Really A Substitute For Coke? Market Definition In Antitrust And Ip, Mark Mckenna Jan 2012

Is Pepsi Really A Substitute For Coke? Market Definition In Antitrust And Ip, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

Antitrust law explicitly depends on market definition. Many issues in IP law also depend on market definition, though that definition is rarely explicit. Applying antitrust traditional market definition to IP goods leads to some startling results. Despite the received wisdom that IP rights don't necessarily confer market power, a wide array of IP rights do exactly that under traditional antitrust principles. This result requires us to rethink both the overly-rigid way we define markets in antitrust law and the competitive consequences of granting IP protection. Both antitrust and IP must begin to think realistically about those consequences, rather than ...


A Consumer Decision-Making Theory Of Trademark Law, Mark Mckenna Jan 2012

A Consumer Decision-Making Theory Of Trademark Law, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

The consumer search costs theory has dominated discussion of trademark law for the last several decades. According to this theory, trademark law aims to increase consumer welfare by reducing the cost of shopping for goods or services, and it accomplishes this goal by preventing uses of a trademark that might confuse consumers about the source of the goods with which the mark is used. This conceptual frame is wrong, and it is complicit in most of trademark law’s extraordinary expansion. “Search costs” is not sufficiently precise; many types of search costs are irrelevant to consumer behavior, and even when ...


Dastar's Next Stand, Mark Mckenna Jan 2012

Dastar's Next Stand, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

A series of recent cases implicate the extent to which trademark law can be used to control creative content. The possibility of using trademark law for that purpose obviously creates a potential conflict with copyright law, which ordinarily sets the rules for use of creative material developed by others. Unfortunately, despite its attraction to boundary questions in trademark law, the Supreme Court‘s Dastar decision—its lone decision demarcating trademark and copyright law—remains controversial and its scope somewhat unclear. This Essay argues that Dastar should be understood, or at least should be extended, to rule out any claims based ...


(Dys)Functionality, Mark Mckenna Jan 2012

(Dys)Functionality, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

The functionality doctrine serves a unique role in trademark law: unlike virtually every other doctrine, functionality can trump consumer confusion (or so it seems, at least in mechanical-functionality cases). In this sense, functionality may be the only doctrine in trademark law that can truly be considered a defense. But despite its potential power, the functionality doctrine is quite inconsistently applied. This is true of mechanical functionality cases because courts differ over the extent to which the doctrine focuses on competitors’ right to copy unpatented features as opposed to their need to copy. And aesthetic functionality cases are even more scattered ...


International Cooperation And The Patent-Antitrust Intersection, Stephen Yelderman Jan 2011

International Cooperation And The Patent-Antitrust Intersection, Stephen Yelderman

Journal Articles

Commentators have long recognized the need to coordinate questions at the patent-antitrust intersection with other policy levers available under patent law. In the international context, however, control over patent policy has been fractured and entrusted to diverse decisionmakers. Many details of patent law are tightly coordinated by international agreement, while others related to antitrust are left to national discretion. This Article evaluates the consequences of this fracture, and notes ways in which the prevailing treaty regimes (the Paris Convention and the TRIPS Agreement) distort incentives for national policymaking. National discretion at the patent-antitrust intersection can be expected to result in ...


Rules For Growth: Promoting Innovation And Growth Through Legal Reform, Nicole Stelle Garnett, Robert E. Litan, Yochai Benkler, Henry N. Butler, John Henry Clippinger, Robert Cook-Deegan, Robert D. Cooter, Aaron S. Edlin, Ronald J. Gilson, Oliver R. Goodenough, Gillian K. Hadfield, Mark A. Lemley, Frank Partnoy, George L. Priest, Larry E. Ribstein, Charles F. Sabel, Peter H. Schuck, Hal S. Scott, Robert E. Scott, Alex Stein, Victoria Stodden, John E. Tyler Iii, Alan D. Viard, Benjamin Wittes Jan 2011

Rules For Growth: Promoting Innovation And Growth Through Legal Reform, Nicole Stelle Garnett, Robert E. Litan, Yochai Benkler, Henry N. Butler, John Henry Clippinger, Robert Cook-Deegan, Robert D. Cooter, Aaron S. Edlin, Ronald J. Gilson, Oliver R. Goodenough, Gillian K. Hadfield, Mark A. Lemley, Frank Partnoy, George L. Priest, Larry E. Ribstein, Charles F. Sabel, Peter H. Schuck, Hal S. Scott, Robert E. Scott, Alex Stein, Victoria Stodden, John E. Tyler Iii, Alan D. Viard, Benjamin Wittes

Journal Articles

The United States economy is struggling to recover from its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. After several huge doses of conventional macroeconomic stimulus - deficit-spending and monetary stimulus - policymakers are understandably eager to find innovative no-cost ways of sustaining growth both in the short and long runs. In response to this challenge, the Kauffman Foundation convened a number of America’s leading legal scholars and social scientists during the summer of 2010 to present and discuss their ideas for changing legal rules and policies to promote innovation and accelerate U.S. economic growth. This meeting led to the publication ...


Strategic Spillovers, Daniel B. Kelly Jan 2011

Strategic Spillovers, Daniel B. Kelly

Journal Articles

The conventional problem with externalities is well known: Parties often generate harm as an unintended byproduct of using their property. This Article examines situations in which parties may generate harm purposely, in order to extract payments in exchange for desisting. Such “strategic spillovers” have received relatively little attention, but the problem is a perennial one. From the “livery stable scam” in Chicago to “pollution entrepreneurs” in China, parties may engage in externality-generating activities they otherwise would not have undertaken, or increase the level of harm given that they are engaging in such activities, to profit through bargaining or subsidies. This ...


Symposium: Creativity And The Law: Introduction, Mark P. Mckenna Jan 2011

Symposium: Creativity And The Law: Introduction, Mark P. Mckenna

Journal Articles

No abstract provided.


Probabilistic Knowledge Of Third-Party Trademark Infringement, Mark Mckenna Jan 2011

Probabilistic Knowledge Of Third-Party Trademark Infringement, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

This essay views secondary trademark liability in light of tort law’s treatment of parties whose actions expose a plaintiff to third party-wrongdoing. Broadly speaking, tort law imposes liability on a party for contributing to the tortious activity of another in two different ways. In vicarious and accomplice liability cases, courts impose the same liability on the defendant as they would have on the direct tortfeasors, had they been defendants: if the third-party wrongdoer is a batterer, the defendant is liable for battery. Another line of cases imposes liability for unreasonably putting a defendant at risk of third-party wrongdoing, and ...


Intergenerational Progress, Brett Frischmann, Mark P. Mckenna Jan 2011

Intergenerational Progress, Brett Frischmann, Mark P. Mckenna

Journal Articles

This Essay prepared for the Wisconsin Law Review’s symposium on Intergenerational Equity lays the groundwork for a broader understanding of the goals of IP law in the United States by arguing that there is room for a normative commitment to intergenerational justice. First, we argue that the normative basis for IP laws need not be utilitarianism. The Constitution does not require that we conceive of IP in utilitarian terms or that we aim only to promote efficiency or maximize value. To the contrary, the IP Clause leaves open a number of ways to conceive of Progress; courts’ and scholars ...


Testing Modern Trademark Law's Theory Of Harm, Mark Mckenna Jan 2009

Testing Modern Trademark Law's Theory Of Harm, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

Modern scholarship takes a decidedly negative view of trademark law. Commentators rail against doctrinal innovations like dilution and initial interest confusion. They clamor for clearer and broader defenses. And they plead for greater First Amendment scrutiny of various applications of trademark law. But beneath all of this criticism lies overwhelming agreement that consumer confusion is harmful. This easy acceptance of the harmfulness of confusion is a problem because it operates at too high a level of generality, ignoring important differences between types of relationships about which consumers might be confused. Failure to differentiate between these different relationships has enabled trademark ...


An Alternate Approach To Channeling?, Mark P. Mckenna Jan 2009

An Alternate Approach To Channeling?, Mark P. Mckenna

Journal Articles

Intellectual property law has developed a variety of doctrines to police the boundaries between various forms of protection. Courts and scholars alike overwhelmingly conceive of these doctrines in terms of the nature of the objects of protection. The functionality doctrine in trademark law, for example, defines the boundary between trademark and patent law by identifying and refusing trademark protection to features that play a functional role in a product’s performance. Likewise, the useful article doctrine works at the boundary of copyright and patent law to identify elements of an article’s design that are dictated by function and to ...