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Opinion: How Software Stifles Competition And Innovation, James Bessen Oct 2023

Opinion: How Software Stifles Competition And Innovation, James Bessen

Faculty Scholarship

Innovation is not what it used to be, and software is part of the reason. In many industries—industries well beyond Big Tech—dominant firms have built large software-based platforms delivering important consumer benefits, but these platforms also slow the rise of innovative rivals, including productive startups.5 Because access to these platforms is limited, competition has been constrained, creating a troubling market dynamic that slows economic growth.


A Patent And A Prize, Keith N. Hylton Feb 2023

A Patent And A Prize, Keith N. Hylton

Faculty Scholarship

This paper examines a simple and old question: should innovators receive a patent or a prize? The answer I provide is equally simple: they should receive both. The literature on patents versus prizes has proceeded mostly under the assumption that there should be a choice between a regime of patents and a regime of prizes in which patents fall into the public domain upon award of the prize. There are significant “public choice costs” under the prize plans. By this I mean there are risks of inappropriate transfers to patentees – that is, looting – and of confiscation of patentees, …


Nonpatentability Of Business Methods: Legal And Economic Analysis, Peter Menell, Michael J. Meurer Oct 2022

Nonpatentability Of Business Methods: Legal And Economic Analysis, Peter Menell, Michael J. Meurer

Faculty Scholarship

In this brief filed in Bilski vs. Kappos, pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, we argue that the "useful Arts" limitation of the the Intellectual Property Clause of the U.S.Constitution restricts the scope of Congress's patent power to technological advances. Beyond this constitutional limitation, Congress has not extended patent protection to business methods. The subject matter provision of the 1952 Patent Act merely codified existing subject matter categories and limitations, including the exclusion of business methods. The First Inventor Defense Act of 1999 did not alter this limitation on patentable subject matter. It did not amend the subject matter provision. …


Competition And Innovation: The Breakup Of Ig Farben, Felix Poege Aug 2022

Competition And Innovation: The Breakup Of Ig Farben, Felix Poege

Faculty Scholarship

The relationship between competition and innovation is difficult to disentangle, as exogenous variation in market structure is rare. The 1952 breakup of Germany’s leading chemical company, IG Farben, represents such a disruption. After the Second World War, the Allies occupying Germany imposed the breakup because of IG Farben’s importance for the German war economy instead of standard antitrust concerns. In technology areas where the breakup reduced concentration, patenting increased strongly, driven by domestic firms unrelated to IG Farben. An analysis of patent texts shows that an increased propensity to patent does not drive the effect. Descriptively, IG Farben’s successors increased …


Securities Law: Overview And Contemporary Issues, Neal Newman, Lawrence J. Trautman Dec 2021

Securities Law: Overview And Contemporary Issues, Neal Newman, Lawrence J. Trautman

Faculty Scholarship

This is not your grandfather’s SEC anymore. Rapid technological change has resulted in novel regulatory issues and challenges, as law and policy struggles to keep pace. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reports that “the U.S. capital markets are the deepest, most dynamic, and most liquid in the world. They also have evolved to become increasingly fast and extraordinarily complex. It is our job to be responsive and innovative in the face of significant market developments and trends.” With global markets increasingly interdependent and interconnected and, “as technological advancements and commercial developments have changed how our securities markets operate, …


Intellectual Property Through A Non-Western Lens: Patents In Islamic Law, Tabrez Y. Ebrahim Jan 2021

Intellectual Property Through A Non-Western Lens: Patents In Islamic Law, Tabrez Y. Ebrahim

Faculty Scholarship

The intersection of secular, Western intellectual property law and Islamic law is undertheorized in legal scholarship. Yet the nascent and developing non-Western law of one form of intellectual property—patents—in Islamic legal systems is profoundly important for transformational innovation and economic development initiatives of Muslim-majority countries that comprise nearly one-fifth of the world’s population.


Recent scholarship highlights the tensions of intellectual property in Islamic law because religious considerations in an Islamic society do not fully align with Western notions of patents. As Islamic legal systems have begun to embrace patents in recent decades, theories of patents have presented conceptual and theological …


Investigating The Contract Production Process, Stephen J. Choi, Robert E. Scott, G. Mitu Gulati Jan 2021

Investigating The Contract Production Process, Stephen J. Choi, Robert E. Scott, G. Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

Contract law and theory have traditionally paid little attention to the processes by which contracts are made. Instead, contracts among sophisticated parties are assumed to be full articulations of the desires of the parties; whatever the process, the outcome is the same. This article compares sovereign debt contracts from US and UK firms, with different production processes, that are trying to do the same thing under very similar legal regimes. We find that that the production process likely matters quite a bit to the final form that contracts take.


The Normative Molecule: Patent Rights And Dna, Saurabh Vishnubhakat May 2020

The Normative Molecule: Patent Rights And Dna, Saurabh Vishnubhakat

Faculty Scholarship

Throughout the biotechnology age, fears about the distortionary effects of property and other legal institutions upon the health and self-determination of individuals and societies have accompanied more popularly sensational fears about unscrupulous choices within the scientific community itself. Still, for most of that time the prevailing legal regime both in the United States and in Europe remained generally permissive of ownership of, and exclusionary power over, the fruits of much biomedical research, though this leniency took different forms and came about in different ways. In particular, the policy of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to grant patents on …


Declining Industrial Disruption, James Bessen Feb 2020

Declining Industrial Disruption, James Bessen

Faculty Scholarship

Recent research finds that markups are rising, suggesting declining competition. But does less price competition mean less Schumpeterian “creative destruction”/industry dynamism? This paper reports the first recent estimates of trends in the displacement of industry-leading firms. Displacement hazards rose for several decades since 1970 but have declined sharply since 2000. Using a production function-based model to explore the role of investments, acquisitions, and lobbying, we find that investments by dominant firms in intangibles, especially software, are distinctly associated with greater persistence and reduced leapfrogging. Software investments by top firms soared around 2000, contributing substantially to the decline. Also, higher markups …


Innovation Versus Encrustation: Agency Costs In Contract Reproduction, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott Jan 2020

Innovation Versus Encrustation: Agency Costs In Contract Reproduction, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

This article studies the impact of exogenous legal change on whether and how lawyers across four different deal types revise their contracts’ governing law clauses in order to solve the problem that the legal change created. The governing law clause is present in practically every contract across a wide range of industries and, in particular, it appears in deals as disparate as private equity M&A transactions and sovereign bond issuances. Properly drafted, the clause increases the ex ante economic value of the contract to both parties by reducing uncertainty and litigation risk. We posit that different levels of agency costs …


National Cybersecurity Innovation, Tabrez Y. Ebrahim Jan 2020

National Cybersecurity Innovation, Tabrez Y. Ebrahim

Faculty Scholarship

National cybersecurity plays a crucial role in protecting our critical infrastructure, such as telecommunication networks, the electricity grid, and even financial transactions. Most discussions about promoting national cybersecurity focus on governance structures, international relations, and political science. In contrast, this Article proposes a different agenda and one that promotes the use of innovation mechanisms for technological advancement. By promoting inducements for technological developments, such innovation mechanisms encourage the advancement of national cybersecurity solutions. In exploring possible solutions, this Article asks whether the government or markets can provide national cybersecurity innovation. This inquiry is a fragment of a much larger literature …


Enhancing Efficiency At Nonprofits With Analysis And Disclosure, David M. Schizer Jan 2020

Enhancing Efficiency At Nonprofits With Analysis And Disclosure, David M. Schizer

Faculty Scholarship

The U.S. nonprofit sector spends $2.54 trillion each year. If the sector were a country, it would have the eighth largest economy in the world, ahead of Brazil, Italy, Canada, and Russia. The government provides nonprofits with billions in tax subsidies, but instead of evaluating the quality of their work, it leaves this responsibility to nonprofit managers, boards, and donors. The best nonprofits are laboratories of innovation, but unfortunately some are stagnant backwaters, which waste money on out-of-date missions and inefficient programs. To promote more innovation and less stagnation, this Article makes two contributions to the literature.

First, this Article …


Data-Centric Technologies: Patent And Copyright Doctrinal Disruptions, Tabrez Y. Ebrahim Jan 2019

Data-Centric Technologies: Patent And Copyright Doctrinal Disruptions, Tabrez Y. Ebrahim

Faculty Scholarship

Data-centric technologies create information content that directly controls, modifies, or responds to the physical world. This information content resides in the digital world yet has profound economic and societal impact in the physical world. 3D printing and artificial intelligence are examples of data-centric technologies. 3D printing utilizes digital data for eventual printing of physical goods. Artificial intelligence learns from data sets to make predictions or automated decisions for use in physical applications and systems. 3D printing and artificial intelligence technologies are based on digital foundations, blur the digital and physical divide, and dramatically improve physical goods, objects, products, or systems. …


Insights Into Early Stage Of Antibiotic Development In Small And Medium-Sized Enterprises: A Survey Of Targets, Costs, And Durations, Kevin Outterson, Christine Ardal, Enrico Baraldi, Ursula Theuretzbacher, Francesco Ciabuschi, Jens Plahte, John-Arne Røttingen Apr 2018

Insights Into Early Stage Of Antibiotic Development In Small And Medium-Sized Enterprises: A Survey Of Targets, Costs, And Durations, Kevin Outterson, Christine Ardal, Enrico Baraldi, Ursula Theuretzbacher, Francesco Ciabuschi, Jens Plahte, John-Arne Røttingen

Faculty Scholarship

Antibiotic innovation has dwindled to dangerously low levels in the past 30 years. Since resistance continues to evolve, this innovation deficit can have perilous consequences on patients. A number of new incentives have been suggested to stimulate greater antibacterial drug innovation. To design effective solutions, a greater understanding is needed of actual antibiotic discovery and development costs and timelines. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) undertake most discovery and early phase development for antibiotics and other drugs. This paper attempts to gather a better understanding of SMEs’ targets, costs, and durations related to discovery and early phase development of antibacterial therapies.


The Field Of Invention, Saurabh Vishnubhakat Mar 2017

The Field Of Invention, Saurabh Vishnubhakat

Faculty Scholarship

Federal courts can ill afford to ignore, assume, or improvise a pervasively important administrative power that the Patent Office exercises regularly and effectively: technology classification. This agency-court asymmetry has persisted for decades but has now become unmanageably problematic for two related reasons. First, Supreme Court guidance, patent reform legislation, and academic commentary have all broadly rejected long-standing patent exceptionalism in administrative law, while making the Patent Office a major substitute for federal courts in resolving patent disputes. Still, patent doctrine has been slow to correct, particularly in judicial deference to agency action. Second, criticisms of the patent system are highly …


Software's Copyright Anticommons, Clark D. Asay Jan 2017

Software's Copyright Anticommons, Clark D. Asay

Faculty Scholarship

Scholars have long assessed “anticommons” problems in creative and innovative environments. An anticommons develops when an asset has numerous rights holders, each of which has a right to prevent use of the asset, but none of which has a right to use the asset without authorization from the other rights holders. Hence, when any one of those rights holders uses its rights in ways that inhibit use of the common asset, an anticommons may result.

In the software world, scholars have long argued that anticommons problems arise, if at all, because of patent rights. Copyright, on the other hand, has …


Overreach And Innovation In Equality Regulation, Olatunde C.A. Johnson Jan 2017

Overreach And Innovation In Equality Regulation, Olatunde C.A. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

At a time of heightened concern about agency overreach, this Article highlights a less appreciated development in agency equality regulation. Moving beyond traditional bureaucratic forms of regulation, civil rights agencies in recent years have experimented with new forms of regulation to advance inclusion. This new "inclusive regulation" can be described as more open ended, less coercive, and more reliant on rewards, collaboration, flexibility, and interactive assessment than traditional modes of civil rights regulation. This Article examines the power and limits of this new inclusive regulation and suggests a framework for increasing the efficacy of these new modes of regulation.


An International Legal Framework To Address Antimicrobial Resistance, Kevin Outterson, Steven J. Hoffman, John-Arne Rottingen, Otto Cars, Charles Clift, Fiona Rotberg, Göran Tomson, Anna Zorzet, Zain Rizvi Feb 2016

An International Legal Framework To Address Antimicrobial Resistance, Kevin Outterson, Steven J. Hoffman, John-Arne Rottingen, Otto Cars, Charles Clift, Fiona Rotberg, Göran Tomson, Anna Zorzet, Zain Rizvi

Faculty Scholarship

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to global health. Currently it accounts for approximately 700,000 deaths annually, but is predicted to cause as many as 10,000,000 deaths by 2050 if nothing is done to address it. To effectively deal with this problem three areas must be addressed simultaneously: access, conservation, and innovation. However, solving issues of access, conservation and innovation at the same time requires new coordination and financing mechanisms, some of which must be organized globally. This bulletin outlines the possible role that a binding international legal framework can play in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.


Intellectual Property Law Hybridization, Clark D. Asay Jan 2016

Intellectual Property Law Hybridization, Clark D. Asay

Faculty Scholarship

Traditionally, patent and copyright laws have been viewed as separate bodies of law with distinct utilitarian goals. The conventional wisdom holds that patent law aims to incentivize the production of inventive ideas, while copyright focuses on protecting the original expression of ideas, but not the underlying ideas themselves. This customary divide between patent and copyright laws finds some support in the Constitution’s Intellectual Property Clause, and Congress, courts, and scholars have largely perpetuated it in enacting, interpreting, and analyzing copyright and patent laws over time.

In this Article, I argue that it is time to partially breach this traditional divide. …


Current Issues In Patent Law And Policy, Michael J. Meurer Jan 2016

Current Issues In Patent Law And Policy, Michael J. Meurer

Faculty Scholarship

Patent law and policy have received a surprising amount of attention from courts and policymakers in recent years. This attention is warranted because innovation policy is critical in determining the pace of innovation and the rate of economic growth. The reform proposals pending before Congress are motivated by widespread reports of abusive patent assertions and fears that patents sometimes stifle innovation. I favor most of the pending reforms and worry that our patent system, on balance, discourages innovation. But I part company from most reform proponents who focus on harms caused by the frivolous patent litigation mounted by many "non-practicing …


The Local Turn; Innovation And Diffusion In Civil Rights Law, Olatunde C.A. Johnson Jan 2016

The Local Turn; Innovation And Diffusion In Civil Rights Law, Olatunde C.A. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

Is the future of civil rights subnational? If one is looking for civil rights innovation, much of this innovation might be happening through legislation, regulatory frameworks, and policies adopted by state and local governments. In recent years, states and cities have adopted legislation banning discrimination in housing based on the source of an individual's income, regulating the consideration of arrest or conviction in employment decisions, and prohibiting discrimination in employment based on an applicant's credit history.

This deployment of subnational power is not new to civil rights. Many of the laws and regulatory frameworks that are now core to the …


What Will It Take To Address The Global Threat Of Antibiotic Resistance?, Kevin Outterson, Steven J. Hoffman Jul 2015

What Will It Take To Address The Global Threat Of Antibiotic Resistance?, Kevin Outterson, Steven J. Hoffman

Faculty Scholarship

Antibiotic resistance is a global threat that may be beyond the capacity of any one country to address. We assess the three primary issues (access, conservation and innovation) and discuss which require higher levels of global coordination.


Repairing The Broken Market For Antibiotic Innovation, Kevin Outterson, John H. Powers, Gregory W. Daniel, Mark B. Mcclellan Feb 2015

Repairing The Broken Market For Antibiotic Innovation, Kevin Outterson, John H. Powers, Gregory W. Daniel, Mark B. Mcclellan

Faculty Scholarship

Multidrug-resistant bacterial diseases pose serious and growing threats to human health. While innovation is important to all areas of health research, it is uniquely important in antibiotics. Resistance destroys the fruit of prior research, making it necessary to constantly innovate to avoid falling back into a pre-antibiotic era. But investment is declining in antibiotics, driven by competition from older antibiotics, the cost and uncertainty of the development process, and limited reimbursement incentives. Good public health practices curb inappropriate antibiotic use, making return on investment challenging in payment systems based on sales volume. We assess the impact of recent initiatives to …


Business Model Options For Antibiotics: Learning From Other Industries, Kevin Outterson, Ella Jaczynska, Jorge Mestre-Ferrandiz Feb 2015

Business Model Options For Antibiotics: Learning From Other Industries, Kevin Outterson, Ella Jaczynska, Jorge Mestre-Ferrandiz

Faculty Scholarship

As resistance to antibiotics continues to grow, there is a well-recognized misalignment between the clinical need for new antibiotics and the incentives for their development. The returns from investment in antibiotics research and development (R&D) are perceived as too small. Partly as a result, the number of large multinational companies researching antibiotics has fallen drastically in the past 20 years and few high-quality antibiotics have been developed.

In looking at the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) situation, we were aware that other industries have faced conceptually similar challenges and that they might offer helpful lessons and possible solutions that could be adapted …


Expired Patents, Saurabh Vishnubhakat Jan 2015

Expired Patents, Saurabh Vishnubhakat

Faculty Scholarship

This article presents a comprehensive empirical description of the public domain of technologies that have recently passed out of patent protection. From a new dataset of over 300,000 patents that expired during 2008–2012, the study examines technological, geographical, and procedural traits of newly public inventions as a basis for exploring the social value associated with their competitive use. Moreover, comparing these inventions to inventions newly patented during the same period enables more specific discussion of how the balance of innovation in the United States continues to change.


Copyright's Technological Interdependencies, Clark D. Asay Jan 2015

Copyright's Technological Interdependencies, Clark D. Asay

Faculty Scholarship

Copyright was initially conceptualized as a means to free creative parties from dependency on public and private patrons such as monarchs, churches, and well-to-do private citizens. By achieving independence for creative parties, the theory ran, copyright led to greater production of a more diverse set of creative works.

But this lingering conception of copyright is both inaccurate and harmful. It is inaccurate because, in today’s world, creative parties are increasingly dependent upon “Technological Patronage” from the likes of Google, Amazon, Apple, and others. Thus, rather than being alternatives or adversaries, copyright and Technological Patronage are increasingly interdependent in facilitating both …


The Anti-Innovators: How Special Interests Undermine Entrepreneurship, James Bessen Jan 2015

The Anti-Innovators: How Special Interests Undermine Entrepreneurship, James Bessen

Faculty Scholarship

For much of the last century, the United States led the world in technological innovation-a position it owed in part to well-designed procurement programs at the Defense Department and NASA. During the 1940s, for example, the Pentagon funded the construction of the first general-purpose computer, designed initially to calculate artillery-firing tables for the U.S. Army. Two decades later, it developed the data communications network known as the ARPANET, a precursor to the Internet. Yet not since the 1980s have government contracts helped generate any major new technologies, despite large increases in funding for defense-related R & D. One major culprit …


Promoting Progress: A Qualitative Analysis Of Creative And Innovative Production, Jessica Silbey Dec 2014

Promoting Progress: A Qualitative Analysis Of Creative And Innovative Production, Jessica Silbey

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter is based on data collected as part of a larger qualitative empirical study based on face-to-face interviews with artists, scientists, engineers, their lawyers, agents and business partners. Broadly, the project involves the collecting and analysis of these interviews to understand how and why the interviewees create and innovate and to make sense of the intersection between intellectual property law and creative and innovative activity from the ground up. This chapter specifically investigates the concept of “progress” as discussed in the interviews. “Promoting progress” is the ostensible goal of the intellectual property protection in the United States, but what …


Analytical Framework For Examining The Value Of Antibacterial Products, Kevin Outterson, Aylin Sertkaya, John T. Eyraud, Anna Birkenback, Calvin Franz, Nyssa Ackerley, Valerie Overton Apr 2014

Analytical Framework For Examining The Value Of Antibacterial Products, Kevin Outterson, Aylin Sertkaya, John T. Eyraud, Anna Birkenback, Calvin Franz, Nyssa Ackerley, Valerie Overton

Faculty Scholarship

Antibacterial resistance is a growing global problem. According to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 2 million people acquire serious infections with bacteria that are resistant to one or more of antibacterial drugs designed to treat those infections in the United States alone. Of these, approximately 23,000 die as a result of drug-resistant infections. Even though estimates vary widely, the economic cost of antibacterial resistance in the United States could be as high as $20 billion and $35 billion a year in excess direct healthcare costs and lost productivity costs, respectively …


The Growing Public Domain In Medicine, Saurabh Vishnubhakat Mar 2014

The Growing Public Domain In Medicine, Saurabh Vishnubhakat

Faculty Scholarship

This essay describes the growing public domain of inventions associated with drugs and medicine, and geographies associated with identifiable shifts in the balance of innovation that may be especially favorable for promoting wider access to socially useful technologies. To do so, it departs from the largely ex ante perspective that currently informs the intersectional debate regarding human rights and patent rights and, instead, looks backward to inquire what innovations from past patents have already become publicly available in service of the human rights objective of greater access to technology. Ex post analysis of this kind may help public and private …