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Full-Text Articles in Law

Patents And Price Fixing By Serial Colluders, Michael Meurer, William Kovacic, Robert Marshall Jan 2021

Patents And Price Fixing By Serial Colluders, Michael Meurer, William Kovacic, Robert Marshall

Faculty Scholarship

Antitrust law has long been mindful of the danger that firms may misuse their patents to facilitate price fixing. Courts and commentators addressing this danger have assumed that patent-facilitated price fixing occurs in a single market. In this Article, we extend conventional analysis to address firms’ patent misuse to facilitate price fixing across multiple products lines. By doing so, we expose gaps in existing agency enforcement and scholarly proposals for reform. Important legal tests that make sense in the single market setting do not carry over to the context we call serial collusion, where certain offenders engage in repeat collusion ...


We're All Pirates Now: Making Do In A Precarious Ip Ecosystem, Jessica Silbey Jan 2021

We're All Pirates Now: Making Do In A Precarious Ip Ecosystem, Jessica Silbey

Faculty Scholarship

Fifteen years after the Piracy Paradox explained how most anti-copying protection is unnecessary for a thriving fashion industry, we face another piracy paradox: with broader and stronger IP laws and a digital economy in which IP enforcement is more draconian than ever, what explains the ubiquity of everyday copying, sharing, re-making and re-mixing practices that are the life blood of the internet's expressive and innovative ecosystems? Drawing on empirical data from a decade of research, this short essay provides two examples of this "new piracy paradox": a legal regime that ostensibly punishes piracy in a culture in which it ...


Response To Oliar And Stern: On Duration, The Idea/Expression Dichotomy, And Time, Wendy J. Gordon Jan 2020

Response To Oliar And Stern: On Duration, The Idea/Expression Dichotomy, And Time, Wendy J. Gordon

Faculty Scholarship

Courts often use possession to determine who should own unclaimed resources. Yet, as Oliar and Stern demonstrate, the concept of possession is little more than a metaphor, capable of being applied to a broad range of phenomena. The authors helpfully deploy “time” as a metric to sort through the rules determining what should count as possession, and they survey the likely costs and benefits attached to choosing earlier versus later events as triggers for acquiring title.

With those tools in hand, Oliar and Stern employ “time” and the analogy of physical possession to address problems in copyright, patent, and trademark ...


Against Progress: Interventions About Equality In Supreme Court Cases About Copyright Law, Jessica Silbey Jan 2020

Against Progress: Interventions About Equality In Supreme Court Cases About Copyright Law, Jessica Silbey

Faculty Scholarship

This symposium essay is adapted from my forthcoming book Against Progress: Intellectual Property and Fundamental Values in the Internet Age (Stanford University Press 2021 forthcoming). The book’s primary argument is that, with the rise of digital technology and the ubiquity of the internet, intellectual property law is becoming a mainstream part of law and culture. This mainstreaming of IP has particular effects, one of which is the surfacing of on-going debates about “progress of science and the useful arts,” which is the constitutional purpose of intellectual property rights.

In brief, Against Progress describes how in the 20th century intellectual ...


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 ...


Allocating Patent Litigation Risk Across The Supply Chain, Michael J. Meurer Mar 2018

Allocating Patent Litigation Risk Across The Supply Chain, Michael J. Meurer

Faculty Scholarship

The paradigmatic defendant in a patent lawsuit is a vertically integrated manufacturer. But much economic activity is conducted collaboratively by a supply chain of vertically disintegrated firms, and sometimes multiple firms are implicated in infringing activities, by making, selling, or using patented technology, or by contributing to or inducing another firm’s infringement. Often patent owners have the option of suing some or all of the members of a supply chain who contribute to the design, creation and marketing of a new technology.

Businesses increasingly contemplate the risk of patent infringement when they negotiate contractual relations to form a supply ...


The Patently Unexceptional Venue Statute, Paul Gugliuzza, Megan M. La Belle Apr 2017

The Patently Unexceptional Venue Statute, Paul Gugliuzza, Megan M. La Belle

Faculty Scholarship

Legal doctrines developed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit are often derided as “exceptionalist,” particularly on issues of procedure. The court’s interpretation of the venue statute for patent infringement suits seems, at first glance, to fit that mold. According to the Federal Circuit, the statute places few constraints on the plaintiff’s choice of forum when suing corporate defendants. This permissive venue rule has lead critics to suggest that the court is, once again, outside the mainstream. The Supreme Court’s recent grant of certiorari in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods would seem to ...


Regulating Patent Assertions, Paul Gugliuzza Oct 2016

Regulating Patent Assertions, Paul Gugliuzza

Faculty Scholarship

Recent years have seen a proliferation of statutes regulating and lawsuits challenging patent enforcement conduct. The Federal Circuit, however, has held that acts of patent enforcement are illegal only if there is clear and convincing evidence both that the patent holder’s infringement allegations were objectively baseless and that the patent holder knew or should have known its allegations were baseless. This chapter summarizes recent efforts by state governments and the federal government to control patent enforcement behavior, questions the broad immunity the Federal Circuit has conferred on patent holders, and seeks to improve pending federal legislation governing patent enforcement ...


Early Filing And Functional Claiming, Paul Gugliuzza May 2016

Early Filing And Functional Claiming, Paul Gugliuzza

Faculty Scholarship

A major problem in the patent system is that many patents claim far more than the patentee actually invented. In his perceptive article, Ready for Patenting, Mark Lemley argues that this overclaiming is caused in part by legal doctrines that encourage inventors to file a patent application as early as possible, often before — or even instead of — building their invention. Patents issued from early-filed applications, Lemley argues, tend to be overly broad because the applicant does not yet know how the invention actually works.

This response essay, part of the Boston University Law Review’s symposium on Notice Failure in ...


Reading Intellectual Property Law Reform Through The Lens Of Constitutional Equality, Jessica Silbey Jan 2015

Reading Intellectual Property Law Reform Through The Lens Of Constitutional Equality, Jessica Silbey

Faculty Scholarship

In reviewing three books, Robert Spoo's Without Copyright, Bill Herman's The Fight for Digital Rights, and Aram Sinnreich's The Piracy Crusade, for Tulsa Law Review's annual book review volume, this paper explores new themes and structures in Supreme Court cases about intellectual property. Studying the new histories and processes described in the books under review helps reveal constitutional equality frameworks in Supreme Court cases about intellectual property usually understood as cases about congressional deference and property rights. This article explains how many of these Supreme Court cases about IP reflect a range of equality modalities - e ...


Saving The Federal Circuit, Paul Gugliuzza Jan 2014

Saving The Federal Circuit, Paul Gugliuzza

Faculty Scholarship

In a recent, attention-grabbing speech, the Chief Judge of the Seventh Circuit, Diane Wood, argued that Congress should abolish the Federal Circuit’s exclusive jurisdiction over patent cases. Exclusive jurisdiction, she said, provides too much legal uniformity, which harms the patent system. In this response to Judge Wood’s thoughtful speech, I seek to highlight two important premises underlying her argument, neither of which is indisputably true.

The first premise is that the Federal Circuit actually provides legal uniformity. Judge Wood suggests that, due to the Federal Circuit’s exclusive jurisdiction, patent doctrine is insufficiently “percolated,” meaning that it lacks ...


The Federal Circuit As A Federal Court, Paul Gugliuzza May 2013

The Federal Circuit As A Federal Court, Paul Gugliuzza

Faculty Scholarship

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has exclusive jurisdiction over patent appeals and, as a consequence, the last word on many legal issues important to innovation policy. This Article shows how the Federal Circuit augments its already significant power by impeding other government institutions from influencing the patent system. Specifically, the Federal Circuit has shaped patent-law doctrine, along with rules of jurisdiction, procedure, and administrative law, to preserve and expand the court’s power in four interinstitutional relationships: the court’s federalism relationship with state courts, its separation of powers relationship with the executive and legislative ...


The Direct Costs From Npe Disputes, Michael Meurer, James Bessen Jun 2012

The Direct Costs From Npe Disputes, Michael Meurer, James Bessen

Faculty Scholarship

In the past, “non-practicing entities” (NPEs), popularly known as “patent trolls,” have helped small inventors profit from their inventions. Is this true today or, given the unprecedented levels of NPE litigation, do NPEs reduce innovation incentives? Using a survey of defendants and a database of litigation, this paper estimates the direct costs to defendants arising from NPE patent assertions. We estimate that firms accrued $29 billion of direct costs in 2011. Although large firms accrued over half of direct costs, most of the defendants were small or medium-sized firms. Moreover, an examination of publicly listed NPEs indicates that little of ...


The Private And Social Costs Of Patent Trolls, Michael Meurer, James Bessen, Jennifer Ford Jan 2012

The Private And Social Costs Of Patent Trolls, Michael Meurer, James Bessen, Jennifer Ford

Faculty Scholarship

The emergence of nonpracticing entities (NPEs) — firms that purchase and hold patent rights but neither innovate themselves nor use the patents in the production of goods — is supposed to incentivize innovation by providing a ready market for innovators. We test this idea empirically and find that NPEs produce little returns for innovators or for their own shareholders, but they place significant costs on productive firms that violate patents inadvertently. Indeed, it appears that NPEs — often disparagingly called “patent trolls” — discourage productive firms from innovating for fear that they will then be subject to a patent troll suit. Thus, NPEs may ...


The New Federal Circuit Mandamus, Paul Gugliuzza Jan 2012

The New Federal Circuit Mandamus, Paul Gugliuzza

Faculty Scholarship

This Article explores an ongoing revolution in the mandamus jurisprudence of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the court of appeals with nearly exclusive jurisdiction over patent cases. Before December 2008, the Federal Circuit had never used the interlocutory writ of mandamus to order a district court to transfer a case to a more convenient forum, denying each one of the twenty-two petitions it had decided on that issue. Since that time, however, the court has overturned eleven different venue decisions on mandamus. Remarkably, ten of those eleven cases have come from the same district court ...


Improving Antibiotic Markets For Long Term Sustainability, Kevin Outterson Jan 2011

Improving Antibiotic Markets For Long Term Sustainability, Kevin Outterson

Faculty Scholarship

The world faces a worsening public health crisis: A growing number of bacteria are resistant to available antibiotics. Yet there are few new antibiotics in the development pipeline to take the place of these increasingly ineffective drugs. We review a number of proposals intended to bolster drug development, including such financial incentives for pharmaceutical manufacturers as extending the effective patent life for new antibiotics. However, such strategies directly conflict with the clear need to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions and could actually increase prescription use. As an alternative, we recommend a two-prong, “integrated” strategy based on prizes administered through the insurance ...


Harvesting Intellectual Property: Inspired Beginnings And 'Work-Makes-Work,' Two Stages In The Creative Processes Of Artists And Innovators, Jessica Silbey Jan 2011

Harvesting Intellectual Property: Inspired Beginnings And 'Work-Makes-Work,' Two Stages In The Creative Processes Of Artists And Innovators, Jessica Silbey

Faculty Scholarship

This Article is part of a larger empirical study based on face-to-face interviews with artists, scientists, engineers, their lawyers, agents, and business partners. The book-length project involves the collecting and analysis of stories from artists, scientists, and engineers about how and why they create and innovate. It also collects stories from their employers, business partners, managers, and lawyers about their role in facilitating the process of creating and innovating. The book’s aim is to make sense of the intersection between intellectual property law and creative and innovative activity, specifically to discern how intellectual property intervenes in the careers of ...


Comparative Tales Of Origins And Access: Intellectual Property And The Rhetoric Of Social Change, Jessica Silbey Jan 2010

Comparative Tales Of Origins And Access: Intellectual Property And The Rhetoric Of Social Change, Jessica Silbey

Faculty Scholarship

This Article argues that the open-source and anti-expansionist rhetoric of current intellectual-property debates is a revolution of surface rhetoric but not of deep structure. What this Article terms “the Access Movements” are, by now, well-known communities devoted to providing more access to intellectual-property-protected goods, communities such as the Open Source Initiative and Access to Knowledge. This Article engages Movement actors in their critique of the balance struck by recent law (statutes and cases) and asks whether new laws that further restrict access to intellectual property “promote the progress of science and the useful arts.” Relying on cases, statutes and recent ...


The Legal Ecology Of Resistance: The Role Of Antibiotic Resistance In Pharmaceutical Innovation, Kevin Outterson Jan 2010

The Legal Ecology Of Resistance: The Role Of Antibiotic Resistance In Pharmaceutical Innovation, Kevin Outterson

Faculty Scholarship

Antibiotic effectiveness is a common pool resource that can be prematurely depleted through resistance. Some experts warn that we may face a global ecological collapse in antibiotic effectiveness. Conventional wisdom argues for more intellectual property rights to speed the creation of new antibiotics. Recent theoretical literature suggests that conservation-based approaches may yield superior results. This Article describes a novel typology for organizing these emerging theories, and provides an early empirical test of these models, using proprietary data on the sales of vancomycin, an important hospital antibiotic for the last three decades.

The results challenge the assumptions in several models, and ...


Global Pharmaceutical Markets, Kevin Outterson Jan 2010

Global Pharmaceutical Markets, Kevin Outterson

Faculty Scholarship

The high price of patented drugs lies at the heart of a major global public health crisis: the global poor are often denied access to lifesaving drugs due to high cost. Do global drug companies owe ethical or legal duties to make their drug patents available for the world’s low- and medium-income populations? We suggest that they do, through an exploration of the exceptions surrounding the “duty of rescue” - more precisely, the doctrine in US tort law that does not impose a duty to rescue absent special circumstances such as having contributed to the risk and enjoying special relationships ...


Of Patents And Property, Michael Meurer Jan 2009

Of Patents And Property, Michael Meurer

Faculty Scholarship

Do patents behave substantially like property rights in tangible assets, in that they encourage development and innovation? This article notes that historical evidence, cross-country evidence, economic experiments, and estimates of net benefits all indicate that general property rights institutions have a substantial direct effect on economic growth. Conversely, with a few important exceptions like chemicals and pharmaceuticals, empirical evidence indicates that intellectual property rights have at best only a weak and indirect effect on economic growth. Further, it appears that for public firms in most industries today, patents may actually discourage investment in innovation for fear of winding up on ...


Patent Carrots And Sticks: A Model Of Nonobviousness, Michael Meurer Jan 2008

Patent Carrots And Sticks: A Model Of Nonobviousness, Michael Meurer

Faculty Scholarship

The authors develop an informal model of the impact of the nonobviousness standard on the choice of research projects. Previous models assume that the basic question confronting a researcher is, "Shall I produce this particular invention?" More realistically, the authors think a researcher asks, "Which research path shall I pursue?" The model shows that a patent serves as a carrot to induce the choice of more difficult projects than would be pursued under the no-patent alternative. The nonobviousness standard serves as a stick to prod researchers to choose even more difficult projects. The results of the model help us understand ...


Patent Buy-Outs For Global Disease Innovations For Low- And Middle-Income Countries, Kevin Outterson Jan 2006

Patent Buy-Outs For Global Disease Innovations For Low- And Middle-Income Countries, Kevin Outterson

Faculty Scholarship

Drug prices are uniquely susceptible to radical price reductions through generic competition. Patented pharmaceuticals may be priced at more than 30 times the marginal cost of production; the excess is the patent rent collected by the drug company while the patent and exclusive marketing periods remain. Patent rents are significant. AIDS drugs which sell for US$10,000 per person per year in the US are sold generically for less than US$200. If patented drugs could be sold at the marginal cost of production, cost effective treatments would become even more attractive, and other interventions would become affordable.

This ...


Lessons For Patent Policy From Empirical Research On Patent Litigation, Michael Meurer Jan 2005

Lessons For Patent Policy From Empirical Research On Patent Litigation, Michael Meurer

Faculty Scholarship

This Article reviews empirical patent litigation research to reveal patent policy lessons. First, the Article presents facts about patent litigation. Next, it analyzes the patent premium. Patent litigation research reveals little about the magnitude of the patent premium, but the research reveals the strategies firms use to capture the patent premium and the patent policy instruments that determine the patent premium. Next, the Article evaluates the patent prosecution process and notes that making efforts to refine a patent application can affect the value of the patent. The Article then identifies reforms for improving PTO performance. Finally, the Article discusses policy ...


Pharmacogenomics, Genetic Tests, And Patent-Based Incentives, Michael Meurer Jan 2003

Pharmacogenomics, Genetic Tests, And Patent-Based Incentives, Michael Meurer

Faculty Scholarship

Pharmacogenomics promises to revolutionize medicine by using genetic information to guide drug therapy. Genetic tests will help doctors improve drug safety and efficacy by better matching patients and drugs. This Article evaluates the effectiveness of patent-based incentives to create genetic tests, and the optimal mix of public and private sector pharmacogenomic R&D. Drug patent owners have a strong incentive to develop genetic tests that predict adverse drug reactions and allow them to market drugs that otherwise would be shelved. Incentives are also strong for genetic tests that are created as part of the drug development process. Incentives tend to be weaker for genetic tests that are used in conjunction with existing drugs. Drug patent owners might gain or lose profit from introduction of genetic tests into existing drug markets. Profits may fall because of lost sales; or profits may rise because drugs are more valuable to appropriate patients, and because drugs become more differentiated.

Public sector R&D should target genetic tests that are likely to be underprovided by the private sector because private returns are low relative to social returns or private costs ...


Controlling Opportunistic And Anti-Competitive Intellectual Property Litigation, Michael Meurer Jan 2003

Controlling Opportunistic And Anti-Competitive Intellectual Property Litigation, Michael Meurer

Faculty Scholarship

It is useful to think of intellectual property (IP) law both as a system of property rights that promotes the production of valuable information and as a system of government regulation that unintentionally promotes socially harmful rent-seeking. This Article analyzes methods of controlling rent-seeking costs associated with opportunistic and anti-competitive IP lawsuits. My thinking is guided to some extent by the analysis of procedural measures for controlling frivolous litigation, and analysis of antitrust reforms designed to control strategic abuse of antitrust law. These analogies lead me to focus on pre-trial and post-trial control measures that reduce the credibility of weak ...


Business Method Patents And Patent Floods, Michael Meurer Jan 2002

Business Method Patents And Patent Floods, Michael Meurer

Faculty Scholarship

Technological breakthroughs occasionally set off floods of inventions and associated patents. The decline of the business method exception to patentability is likely to increase the frequency of patent floods. Future technological breakthroughs might now cause two different patent floods: a flood of patents covering the relevant technology, and a flood of patents covering business methods in the new market opened by the breakthrough. Furthermore, a technological breakthrough is no longer a precondition for a patent flood. Any factor that opens a new market might cause a future flood of business method patents.

A flood of related patents in a new ...