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Series

Intellectual Property Law

Columbia Law School

Software

Publication Year

Articles 1 - 11 of 11

Full-Text Articles in Law

Software Patents, Incumbents, And Entry, John R. Allison, Abe Dunn, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2007

Software Patents, Incumbents, And Entry, John R. Allison, Abe Dunn, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

Software patents have been controversial since the days when "software" referred to the crude programs that came free with an IBM mainframe. Different perspectives have been presented in judicial, legislative, and administrative fora over the years, and the press has paid as much attention to this issue as it has to any other intellectual property topic during this time. Meanwhile, a software industry developed and has grown to a remarkable size, whether measured by revenues or profitability, number of firms or employees, or research expenditures. The scope of software innovation has become even broader, as an increasing number of devices ...


The Disputed Quality Of Software Patents, John R. Allison, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2007

The Disputed Quality Of Software Patents, John R. Allison, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

We analyze the characteristics of the patents held by firms in the software industry. Unlike prior researchers, we rely on the examination of individual patents to determine which patents involve software inventions. This method of identifying the relevant patents is more laborious than the methods that previous scholars have used, but it produces a data set from which we can learn more about the role of patents in the software industry. In general, we find that patents the computer technology firms obtain on software inventions have more prior art references, claims, and forward citations than the patents that the same ...


The Disputed Quality Of Software Patents, John R. Allison, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2007

The Disputed Quality Of Software Patents, John R. Allison, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

We analyze the characteristics of the patents held by firms in the software industry. Unlike prior researchers, we rely on examination of the individual patents to determine which patents involve software inventions. This method of identifying the relevant patents is more laborious than the methods that previous scholars have used, but it produces a dataset from which we can learn more about the role of patents in the software industry. In general, we find that the patents computer technology firms obtain on software inventions have more prior art references, claims, and forward citations than the patents the same firms obtain ...


Software Patents, Incumbents, And Entry, John R. Allison, Abe Dunn, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2007

Software Patents, Incumbents, And Entry, John R. Allison, Abe Dunn, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

Software patents have been controversial since the days when "software" referred to the crude programs that came free with an IBM mainframe. Different perspectives have been presented in judicial, legislative, and administrative fora over the years, and the press has paid as much attention to this issue as it has to any other intellectual property topic during this time. Meanwhile, a software industry developed and has grown to a remarkable size, whether measured by revenues or profitability, number of firms or employees, or research expenditures. The scope of software innovation has become even broader, as an increasing number of devices ...


Commercializing Open Source Software: Do Property Rights Still Matter?, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2006

Commercializing Open Source Software: Do Property Rights Still Matter?, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

For several years now, open source software products have been gaining prominence and market share. Yet the products themselves are not as provocative as the way in which they are developed and distributed. Two related features of the open source model are distinctive: the use of collaborative development structures that extend beyond the boundaries of a single firm, and the lack of reliance on intellectual property ("IP") rights as a means of appropriating the value of the underlying technologies. Firm-level control of intellectual property is replaced by a complex set of relations, both informal and sometimes contractual, among strategic partners ...


Patents And Business Models For Software Firms, John R. Allison, Abe Dunn, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2006

Patents And Business Models For Software Firms, John R. Allison, Abe Dunn, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

We analyze the relation between patents and the different business models available to firms in the software industry. The paper builds on Cusumano's work defining the differences among firms that sell products, those that provide services, and the hybrid firms that fall between those polar categories. Combining data from five years of Software Magazine's Software 500 with data about the patenting practices of those software firms, we analyze the relation between the share of revenues derived from product sales and the firm's patenting practices. Accounting for size, R&D intensity, and sector-specific effects, the paper finds a ...


Do Patents Facilitate Financing In The Software Industry?, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2005

Do Patents Facilitate Financing In The Software Industry?, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

This paper is the first part of a wide-ranging study of the role of intellectual property in the software industry. Unlike previous papers that focus primarily on software patents – which generally are held by firms that are not software firms – this Article provides a thorough and contextually grounded description of the role that patents play in the software industry itself.

The bulk of the Article considers the pros and cons of patents in the software industry. The Article starts by emphasizing the difficulties that prerevenue startups face in obtaining any value from patents. Litigation to enforce patents is impractical for ...


An Empirical Investigation Of Liquidation Choices Of Failed High-Tech Firms, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2005

An Empirical Investigation Of Liquidation Choices Of Failed High-Tech Firms, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

This paper compares a dataset of failed venture-backed firms to information about the firm's liquidation choices. The first finding is that firms in California are much less likely to use the bankruptcy process than firms in other states, largely because of their ability to use a cheaper and less formal assignment for the benefit of creditors procedure. The paper explores a number of reasons why that procedure succeeds in California more than it does elsewhere, including differences in statutory support for the procedure, the sophistication of market participants in California, the close-knit venture communities in California, and unusual rules ...


The Commercialization Of Open Source Software: Do Property Rights Still Matter?, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2005

The Commercialization Of Open Source Software: Do Property Rights Still Matter?, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

A major shift toward open source software is underway as companies are more critically evaluating the cost effectiveness of their IT investments, seeing the benefits of collaborative development, and looking for ways to avoid vendor lock-in. At the same time, academics and industry visionaries are criticizing the use of a traditional appropriation mechanism for innovation – the patent – by bemoaning the decisions of U.S. and foreign governments to permit software patents, the rising numbers of patents on software-related innovations (the so-called arms race build-up), and the cost and frequency of patent litigation in the software industry. The critics generally have ...


Patents, Venture Capital, And Software Start-Ups, Ronald J. Mann, Thomas W. Sager Jan 2005

Patents, Venture Capital, And Software Start-Ups, Ronald J. Mann, Thomas W. Sager

Faculty Scholarship

This paper analyzes the relation between the patenting behavior of startup firms and the progress of those firms through the venture capital cycle. Linking data relating to venture capital financing of software startup firms with data concerning the patents obtained by those firms, we find significant and robust positive correlations between patenting and several variables measuring the firm's performance (including number of rounds, total investment, exit status, receipt of late stage financing, and longevity). The data also show that (1) only about one in four venture-backed software firms acquired even one patent during the period of the study; (2 ...


An Empirical Investigation Of Liquidation Choices Of Failed High Tech Firms, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2004

An Empirical Investigation Of Liquidation Choices Of Failed High Tech Firms, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

Perhaps it is merely a reflection of my interests, but to my mind, empirical research requires a certain risk-preferent boldness. I like projects that explore how and why particular businesses make important decisions. After I identify a topic, I typically try to gather as much qualitative and quantitative information about it as I can, with the expectation that when I have learned a great deal about the topic something interesting will emerge that relates in some important way to an ongoing academic debate. Those projects usually do not begin with a specific hypothesis to prove or disprove-often either answer will ...