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Full-Text Articles in Law

Death Of Copyright, Paul Gugliuzza Dec 2019

Death Of Copyright, Paul Gugliuzza

Faculty Scholarship

The four primary bodies of intellectual property law—patent law, copyright law, trademark law, and the law of trade secrets—address the question of duration in different ways. Trade secrets have no fixed duration; the law protects against misappropriation as long as the relevant information remains secret. Trademark protection lasts as long as the mark retains its capacity to distinguish the goods or services it is attached to. In patent law—my primary area of scholarship—duration is fixed, finite, and generally straightforward to determine: you get twenty years from the date you file your patent application. Copyright duration, by contrast, varies depending on …


Right Of Repair In The Digital Economy, Jessica Silbey Nov 2019

Right Of Repair In The Digital Economy, Jessica Silbey

Faculty Scholarship

We have long understood that people have a right to repair what they own, but this right to repair is under siege. A new article by Leah Chan Grinvald and Ofer Tur-Sinai explains how IP rules are inhibiting these repair rights and why laws protecting the right to repair are necessary and justifiable. As I explain below, authors Grinvald and Tur-Sinai describe the growing right to repair movement pushing for legislation to protect the right to repair and show how intellectual property laws should facilitate not interfere with consumers rights to repair what they own. The authors also propose a …


Elite Patent Law, Paul Gugliuzza Jul 2019

Elite Patent Law, Paul Gugliuzza

Faculty Scholarship

Over the last twenty years, one of the most significant developments in intellectual property law has been the dramatic increase in the number of patent cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. That same time period has also seen the emergence of a small, elite group of lawyers specializing not in any particular area of substantive law but in litigation before the Supreme Court. In recent empirical work, I linked the Court’s growing interest in patent law to the more frequent participation of elite Supreme Court lawyers in patent cases, particularly at the cert. stage. Among other things, I found …


The Supreme Court Bar At The Bar Of Patents, Paul Gugliuzza Mar 2019

The Supreme Court Bar At The Bar Of Patents, Paul Gugliuzza

Faculty Scholarship

Over the past two decades, a few dozen lawyers have come to dominate practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. By many accounts, these elite lawyers—whose clients are often among the largest corporations in the world—have spurred the Court to hear more cases that businesses care about and to decide those cases in favor of their clients. The Supreme Court’s recent case law on antitrust, arbitration, punitive damages, class actions, and more provides copious examples.

Though it is often overlooked in discussions of the emergent Supreme Court bar, patent law is another area in which the Court’s agenda has changed significantly …


The Procedure Of Patent Eligibility, Paul Gugliuzza Feb 2019

The Procedure Of Patent Eligibility, Paul Gugliuzza

Faculty Scholarship

A decade ago, the patent-eligible subject matter requirement was defunct. Several recent Supreme Court decisions, however, have made eligibility the most important issue in many patent cases. To date, debates over the resurgent doctrine have focused mainly on its substance. Critics contend that the Supreme Court’s case law makes patents too easy to invalidate and discourages innovation. Supporters emphasize that the Court’s decisions help eradicate the overly broad patents often asserted by so-called patent trolls.

Yet one important consequence of eligibility’s revival has been procedural. Because district courts often view eligibility to present a pure question of law, they are—for …


Diffusing New Technology Without Dissipating Rents: Some Historical Case Studies Of Knowledge Sharing, James Bessen, Alessandro Nuvolari Jan 2019

Diffusing New Technology Without Dissipating Rents: Some Historical Case Studies Of Knowledge Sharing, James Bessen, Alessandro Nuvolari

Faculty Scholarship

The diffusion of innovations is supposed to dissipate inventors’ rents. Yet in many documented cases, inventors freely shared knowledge with their competitors. Using a model and case studies, this article explores why sharing did not eliminate inventors’ incentives. Each new technology coexisted with an alternative for one or more decades. This allowed inventors to earn rents while sharing knowledge, attaining major productivity gains. The technology diffusion literature suggests that such circumstances are common during the early stages of a new technology.


Intellectual Property Harms: A Paradigm For The Twenty-First Century, Jessica Silbey Jan 2019

Intellectual Property Harms: A Paradigm For The Twenty-First Century, Jessica Silbey

Faculty Scholarship

This short essay is part of a larger book project that investigates how contemporary intellectual property debates, especially in the digital age, are taking place over less familiar terrain: fundamental rights and values. Its argument draws from the diverse, personal accounts of interviews from everyday creators and innovators and focuses on descriptions of harms and, as some say “abuses,” they suffer within their practicing communities. The harms are not described are the usual harms that intellectual property law is understood to prevent. Typically, intellectual property injuries are conceived in individual terms and as economic injuries. An infringer is a thief. …


Price Discrimination & Intellectual Property, Michael J. Meurer, Ben Depoorter Jan 2019

Price Discrimination & Intellectual Property, Michael J. Meurer, Ben Depoorter

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter reviews the law and economics literature on intellectual property law and price discrimination. We introduce legal scholars to the wide range of techniques used by intellectual property owners to practice price discrimination; in many cases the link between commercial practice and price discrimination may not be apparent to non-economists. We introduce economists to the many facets of intellectual property law that influence the profitability and practice of price discrimination. The law in this area has complex effects on customer sorting and arbitrage. Intellectual property law offers fertile ground for analysis of policies that facilitate or discourage price discrimination. …


Copyright’S Memory Hole, Jessica Silbey, Eric Goldman Jan 2019

Copyright’S Memory Hole, Jessica Silbey, Eric Goldman

Faculty Scholarship

There is growing interest in using copyright to protect the privacy and reputation of people depicted in copyrighted works. This pressure is driven by heightened concerns about privacy and reputation on the Internet, plus copyright’s plaintiff-favorable attributes compared to traditional privacy and reputation torts.

The Constitution authorizes copyright law because its exclusive rights benefit society by increasing our knowledge. Counterproductively, to advance privacy and reputation interests, copyright law is being misdeployed to suppress socially valuable works. This results in “memory holes” in society’s knowledge, analogous to those discussed in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984.

By referencing Constitutional considerations, the Article …


Existential Copyright And Professional Photography, Jessica Silbey, Eva Subotnik, Peter Dicola Jan 2019

Existential Copyright And Professional Photography, Jessica Silbey, Eva Subotnik, Peter Dicola

Faculty Scholarship

Intellectual property law has intended benefits, but it also carries certain costs — deliberately so. Skeptics have asked: Why should intellectual property law exist at all? To get traction on that overly broad but still important inquiry, we decided to ask a new, preliminary question: What do creators in a particular industry actually use intellectual property for? In this first-of-its-kind study, we conducted thirty-two in-depth qualitative interviews of photographers about how copyright law functions within their creative and business practices. By learning the actual functions of copyright law on the ground, we can evaluate and contextualize existing theories of intellectual …


Rising Confusion About 'Arising Under' Jurisdiction In Patent Cases, Paul Gugliuzza Jan 2019

Rising Confusion About 'Arising Under' Jurisdiction In Patent Cases, Paul Gugliuzza

Faculty Scholarship

By statute, all cases “arising under” patent law must be heard exclusively by the federal courts (not state courts) and, on appeal, by the Federal Circuit (not the twelve regional circuits). But not all cases involving patents “arise under” patent law. As recently as 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the mere need to apply patent law in, for example, a malpractice case involving a patent lawyer, is insufficient to trigger exclusive jurisdiction. Rather, the Court held, for a case that does not involve claims of patent infringement to arise under patent law, the patent issue must be “important . …


Control Over Contemporary Photography: A Tangle Of Copyright, Right Of Publicity, And The First Amendment, Jessica Silbey Jan 2019

Control Over Contemporary Photography: A Tangle Of Copyright, Right Of Publicity, And The First Amendment, Jessica Silbey

Faculty Scholarship

Professional photographers who make photographs of people negotiate a tense relationship between their own creative freedoms and the right of their subjects to control their images. This negotiation formally takes place over the terrain of copyright, right of publicity, and the First Amendment. Informally, photographers describe implied understandings and practice norms guiding their relationship with subjects, infrequently memorialized in short, boilerplate contractual releases. This short essay explores these formal and informal practices described by contemporary professional photographers. Although the evidence for this essay comes from professional photographic practice culled from interviews with contemporary photographers, the analysis of the evidence speaks …


Justifying Copyright In The Age Of Digital Reproduction: The Case Of Photographers, Jessica Silbey Jan 2019

Justifying Copyright In The Age Of Digital Reproduction: The Case Of Photographers, Jessica Silbey

Faculty Scholarship

This Article explores the justification for copyright from two sources: seminal court cases and accounts from photographic authors. It takes as its premise that copyright protection requires justification, not only because creative work is frequently made and disseminated without reliance on copyright, but because, in the age of digital technology, practices of creative production and dissemination have sufficiently changed to question the existing contours of the forty-year-old Copyright Act. Why read the photographers’ stories alongside the court cases? Each present contested views of copyright’s relation to creativity. At times, the photographers’ accounts and the case law strengthen and reinforce each …