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Bio-Piracy or Prospering Together? Fuzzy Set and Qualitative Analysis of Herbal Patenting by Firms

April 23, 2014 Comments off

Bio-Piracy or Prospering Together? Fuzzy Set and Qualitative Analysis of Herbal Patenting by Firms (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business Working Papers

Since the 1990s, several western firms have filed patents based on medicinal herbs from emerging markets, evoking protests from local stakeholders against ‘bio-piracy’. We explore conditions under which firms and local stakeholders share rents from such patents. Our theoretical model builds on two distinct strategy literatures: firms appropriating rents from new technologies and firms managing stakeholders. We predict that a win-win outcome emerges when the patent strength is moderate and when local stakeholders form a coalition with larger national stakeholders to initiate litigation against the focal firm. We test our predictions using a two-pronged empirical strategy. Our empirical context relates to herbal patents from emerging markets and given that we have a small sample (N=17), we employ a fuzzy set QCA methodology. In addition, we develop four in-depth qualitative case studies to support our predictions.

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The Legal Needs of Emerging Online Media: The Online Media Legal Network after 500 Referrals

April 18, 2014 Comments off

The Legal Needs of Emerging Online Media: The Online Media Legal Network after 500 Referrals
Source: Digital Media Law Project

Since December 2009, the DMLP has operated the Online Media Legal Network, a free attorney referral service for independent, online journalists and journalism organizations. The OMLN has served as a fundamental part of the legal support structure for online journalism, assisting more than 260 clients with over 500 separate legal matters.

As a result of that experience, the DMLP has been in a unique position to observe the nature of these new journalism ventures and their legal needs. This report collects these observations, including the following:

  • Those who have sought help from the OMLN overwhelmingly create their own original content, rather than aggregate the content of others. Many also provide support services to other journalists, platforms for users to talk to one another, or tools to access primary source information.
  • While some clients report on niche issues, many more are focused on reporting news of general interest, either to the public at large or local audiences. Non-profit clients show a greater focus on reporting on social issues such as health and education than for-profit or individual clients.
  • OMLN clients show significant evidence of forward planning. They are more often proactive than reactive to legal issues, frequently seeking assistance with intellectual property, content liability, and corporate questions before crises occur.
  • Individual clients not employed by an organization, and those clients who reported on businesses or to consumer audiences, sought help defending against legal threats more often than other clients. This indicates a particular need for greater litigation assistance among these categories.
  • The advice sought by OMLN clients with regard to intellectual property matters shows a near-perfect balance between protecting their own content and using the content of others.

The State of the Discordant Union: An Empirical Analysis of DMCA Takedown Notices

April 10, 2014 Comments off

The State of the Discordant Union: An Empirical Analysis of DMCA Takedown Notices
Source: Virginia Journal of Law and Technology, Forthcoming (via SSRN)

By conducting a census on half-a-million takedown notices and more than 50 million takedown requests in its datasets, this paper takes a detailed and systematic look at the state of the takedown process from an empirical perspective. It examines the use and issuance of takedown notices by copyright owners and reporters and the response of service providers to them. It further studies the relationship between the notices and requests and safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and identifies ways in which the takedown process can be further improved to preserve the diversity and freedom of the Internet.

IP in a World Without Scarcity

April 10, 2014 Comments off

IP in a World Without Scarcity
Source: Social Science Research Network

Things are valuable because they are scarce. The more abundant they become, they cheaper they become. But a series of technological changes is underway that promises to end scarcity as we know it for a wide variety of goods. The Internet is the most obvious example, because the change there is furthest along. The Internet has reduced the cost of production and distribution of informational content effectively to zero. In many cases it has also dramatically reduced the cost of producing that content. And it has changed the way in which information is distributed, separating the creators of content from the distributors.

More recently, new technologies promise to do for a variety of physical goods and even services what the Internet has already done for information. 3D printers can manufacture physical goods based on any digital design. Synthetic biology has automated the manufacture not just of copies of existing genetic sequences but any custom-made gene sequence, allowing anyone who want to create a gene sequence of their own to upload the sequence to a company that will “print” it using the basic building blocks of genetics. And advances in robotics offer the prospect that many of the services humans now provide can be provided free of charge by general-purpose machines that can be programmed to perform a variety of complex functions. While none of these technologies are nearly as far along as the Internet, they share two essential characteristics with the Internet: they radically reduce the cost of production and distribution of things, and they separate the informational content of those things (the design) from their manufacture. Combine these four developments – the Internet, 3D printing, robotics, and synthetic biology – and it is entirely plausible to envision a not-too-distant world in which most things that people want can be downloaded and created on site for very little money.

The role of IP in such a world is both controverted and critically important. IP rights are designed to artificially replicate scarcity where it would not otherwise exist. In its simplest form, IP law takes public goods that would otherwise be available to all and artificially restricts their distribution. It makes ideas scarce, because then we can bring them into the economy and charge for them, and economics knows how to deal with scarce things. So on one view – the classical view of IP law – a world in which all the value resides in information is a world in which we need IP everywhere, controlling rights over everything, or no one will get paid to create. That has been the response of IP law to the Internet so far.

Return Migration and Geography of Innovation in MNEs: A Natural Experiment of On-the-Job Learning of Knowledge Production by Local Workers Reporting to Return Migrants

March 20, 2014 Comments off

Return Migration and Geography of Innovation in MNEs: A Natural Experiment of On-the-Job Learning of Knowledge Production by Local Workers Reporting to Return Migrants
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

I study whether return migrants and their direct reports facilitate knowledge production and transfer across borders for multinationals. Using unique personnel and patenting data for 1,315 inventors at an emerging market R&D center for a Fortune 50 technology firm, I exploit a natural experiment where the assignment of managers for newly hired college graduates is mandated by rigid HR rules and is uncorrelated to observable characteristics of the graduates. Given this assignment protocol, I find that local employees who report to return migrants file disproportionately more US patents. I also find evidence that return migration facilitates knowledge transfer across borders.

Software Piracy: A Critical Survey of the Theoretical and Empirical Literature

March 19, 2014 Comments off

Software Piracy: A Critical Survey of the Theoretical and Empirical Literature (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics

As devices that used software became available to the masses the problem of software piracy arose. Recent theoretical works modeled the software piracy phenomenon; others tried to empirically explain the determinants that can explain this phenomenon. Empirical literature in the latter case is still in its infancy. This chapter reviews the theoretical literature focusing on three major models, those that deal with diffusion models, network externalities and with game theory. It also presents the empirical literature in which we identify eight stylized results that reflect key variables across five macroeconomic dimensions that explain software piracy: Economic, Cultural, Technological, Legal and Educational dimensions.

Copyright, Permissions and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities

March 17, 2014 Comments off

Copyright, Permissions and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities (PDF)
Source: College Art Association
From press release:

CAA is pleased to announce the publication of Copyright, Permissions and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities: An Issues Report. Endorsed by CAA’s Board of Directors on January 24, 2014, the report is now available on CAA’s website (here) and will also be distributed in printed form at the upcoming Annual Conference in Chicago.  The report was written by Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi, professors of communications and law, respectively, at American University; and graduate fellows Bryan Bello and Tijana Milosevic.  Aufderheide and Jaszi are the project’s lead researchers and two of its principal investigators. Their report summarizes 100 interviews of art historians, artists, museum curators, editors and publishers describing issues related to the use of third-party images in creative and scholarly work. The research was further informed by a CAA membership survey on fair use and a review of relevant literature and legal precedents.

This issues report reveals a situation in which uncertainty about copyright law and the availability of fair use, particularly in the digital era, has made many practitioners risk-averse, too often abandoning or distorting projects due to real or perceived challenges in using copyrighted materials. The report was read by the project’s Principal Investigators, Project Advisors, and members of the CAA Task Force on Fair Use, its Committee on Intellectual Property, and a Community Practices Advisory Committee. A full list of these individuals appears as an appendix in the report.

CRS — The Role of Trade Secrets in Innovation Policy

March 14, 2014 Comments off

The Role of Trade Secrets in Innovation Policy (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Many businesses have developed proprietary information that provides a competitive advantage because it is not known to others. As the United States continues its shift to a knowledge- and service-based economy, the strength and competitiveness of domestic firms increasingly depends upon their know-how and intangible assets. Trade secrets are the form of intellectual property that protects this sort of confidential information.

Trade secret law protects secret, valuable business information from misappropriation by others. Subject matter ranging from marketing data to manufacturing know-how may be protected under the trade secret laws. Trade secret status is not limited to a fixed number of years, but endures so long as the information is valuable and maintained as a secret. A trade secret is misappropriated when it has been obtained through the abuse of a confidential relationship or improper means of acquisition.

A number of competing innovation policy concerns help shape the particular doctrines that comprise trade secret law. The availability of legal protection for trade secrets potentially promotes innovation, encourages firms to invest in employee development, and confirms standards of commercial ethics and morality. On the other hand, trade secret protection involves the suppression of information, which may hinder competition and the proper functioning of the marketplace. An overly robust trade secret law also could restrain employee mobility and promote investment in costly, but socially inefficient security measures.

4th edition of EUI Library ‘Bibliography of Academia’ now available

February 21, 2014 Comments off

4th edition of EUI Library ‘Bibliography of Academia’ now available
Source: European University Institute

The Library issued a new edition of the Bibliography of Academia on 20 January. The 4th edition covers works on early career development for young academics; methodology in the humanities and social sciences; writing and publication; presenting and teaching; digital innovation; copyright; academia in Europe; and university strategy and finance. All works are available at the EUI Library. Shelfmarks are provided for each title.

WEF — Seven Principles for Adapting to the New Digital World

January 29, 2014 Comments off

Seven Principles for Adapting to the New Digital World
Source: World Economic Forum

  • New principles developed through World Economic Forum call for global collaboration to address the borderless nature of digital media
  • Internet users report relatively low awareness of laws regulating the use of digital content
  • Over 100 experts from media and technology industry, government, civil society and thought leaders, including innovators and artists, contributed to the principles

Standard-Essential Patents

January 27, 2014 Comments off

Standard-Essential Patents (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

A major policy issue in standard setting is that patents that are ex-ante not that important may, by being included into the standard, become standard-essential patents (SEPs). In an attempt to curb the monopoly power that they create, most standard-setting organizations require the owners of patents covered by the standard to make a loose commitment to grant licenses on reasonable terms. Such commitments unsurprisingly are conducive to intense litigation activity. This paper builds a framework for the analysis of SEPs, identifies several types of inefficiencies attached to the lack of price commitment, shows how structured price commitments restore competition, and analyzes whether price commitments are likely to emerge in the marketplace.

CRS — Aereo and FilmOn X: Internet Television Streaming and Copyright Law

January 24, 2014 Comments off

Aereo and FilmOn X: Internet Television Streaming and Copyright Law (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Aereo and FilmOn X stream television programming over the Internet for a monthly subscription fee. Aereo and FilmOn’s technology permits subscribers to watch both live broadcast television in addition to already-aired programming. Their use of this development in technology has triggered multiple lawsuits from broadcasting companies alleging copyright violations. These cases reveal not only multiple interpretations of copyright law and its application to new and developing technologies but also a possible “loophole” in the law, which some have accused Aereo and FilmOn of exploiting.

Cyber-enabled Competitive Data Theft: A Framework for Modeling Long-Run Cybersecurity Consequences

December 19, 2013 Comments off

Cyber-enabled Competitive Data Theft: A Framework for Modeling Long-Run Cybersecurity Consequences
Source: Brookings Institution

With this paper, Friedman, Mack-Crane, and Hammond present what they believe is the first economic framework and model to understand the long-run impact of competitive data theft on an economy by taking into account the actual mechanisms and pathways by which theft harms the victims. The initial results suggest five important conclusions:

  1. The three dimensions along which the framework differentiates CCDT can all be important to model outcomes. In some cases, sector matters, in others the type of data stolen matters, and in others protection regime matters.
  2. By seeing stolen data from a business process perspective, rather than a lost asset, the authors were able to understand the problem in a longer time frame. This not only avoids the challenges of short term analysis and gives us the context of equilibria, it is more extensible in a policy analysis.
  3. These simulations demonstrate that different interventions will have different effects. Not only is there no ‘silver bullet,’ but some sectors will benefit from solutions that may offer no help to others.
  4. The framework introduces a new way of thinking about cybersecurity that does not easily map onto existing theoretical structures or evidence. The modeling process revealed the need for further theoretical work to properly integrate the diversity of impacts the framework identifies into a model of growth.
  5. This basic model is not only extensible, but can help us understand a range of critical cybersecurity policy problems. A particularly promising extension of the model would be to divide each sector into two groups: defenders and self-insurers. The defending firms spend some of their fixed capital in a one-time investment, but are less vulnerable to attacks. The remainder of the sector chooses to use their capital for growth, as before.

CRS — Internet Domain Names: Background and Policy Issues (updated)

December 17, 2013 Comments off

Internet Domain Names: Background and Policy Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Navigating the Internet requires using addresses and corresponding names that identify the location of individual computers. The Domain Name System (DNS) is the distributed set of databases residing in computers around the world that contain address numbers mapped to corresponding domain names, making it possible to send and receive messages and to access information from computers anywhere on the Internet. Many of the technical, operational, and management decisions regarding the DNS can have significant impacts on Internet-related policy issues such as intellectual property, privacy, Internet freedom, e-commerce, and cybersecurity.

University Start-Ups: Critical for Improving Technology Transfer

November 21, 2013 Comments off

University Start-Ups: Critical for Improving Technology Transfer
Source: Brookings Institution

University technology transfer has been largely dominated by a business model of licensing university patents to the highest bidder. This model is unprofitable for most universities and sometimes even risks alienating the private sector. However, a new and smarter model has emerged and is being increasingly adopted. In this new model universities nurture their own start-ups and make available their patents to them. This ought to improve technology transfer. But universities cannot do it alone, they operate within a larger innovation ecology and the government can help foster an adequate environment for entrepreneurship.

Quantifying the Impacts of Digital Rights Management and E – Book Pricing on the E – Book Reader Market

November 8, 2013 Comments off

Quantifying the Impacts of Digital Rights Management and E-Book Pricing on the E-Book Reader Market (PDF)
Source: NET Institute

The demand for electronic books (e-books) and the e-book readers are complementary. On the one hand, the emergence of e-book readers such as Amazon’s Kindle has triggered the recent growth of the e-book market. On the other hand, several issues in the e-book market can a§ect the future of the e-book reader market. Considering this complementarity, this paper quantifies the impact of digital rights management (DRM) and discounted e-book pricing on the demand for e-book readers. We collect conjoint survey data to estimate a random coefficient demand model using a hierarchical Bayesian method. Our counterfactual experiments suggest two things. First, Kindle’s and Nook’s market shares would increase by dropping DRM. Consumer welfare would increase seven percent if all e-book readers dropped DRM. Second, an increase in e-book prices would increase iPad’s market share at the expense of that of Kindle and Nook. Consumer welfare would decrease 6 to 10 percent if Kindle’s and Nook’s e-book prices went up by 50 percent.

Request for Comments on Department of Commerce Green Paper, Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy

November 6, 2013 Comments off

Request for Comments on Department of Commerce Green Paper, Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy
Source: National Telecommunications & Information Administration

On October 3, 2013, the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (Task Force) published a notice of public meeting and a request for public comments on five issues critical to economic growth, job creation, and cultural development that were identified in the Department’s Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (Green Paper). The purpose of this notice is to announce a change in the date of the public meeting and additional opportunities for the submission of public comments. The public meeting (previously scheduled for October 30, 2013) will now be held on December 12, 2013. The deadline for the submission of pre-meeting comments is November 13, 2013. Post-meeting comments are due on or before January 10,2014.

New From the GAO

November 4, 2013 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Native American Veterans: DOL Needs a Clear Plan to Improve Employment and Training Services on Tribal Lands. GAO-13-664, September 26.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-664
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/658213.pdf

2. Department of Homeland Security: Opportunities Exist to Enhance Visibility over Collaborative Field Mechanisms. GAO-13-734, September 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-734
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/658305.pdf

3. Small Business Innovation Research: Data Rights Protections. GAO-14-116R, November 4.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-116R

Imperfect Information, Patent Publication, and the Market for Ideas

October 31, 2013 Comments off

Imperfect Information, Patent Publication, and the Market for Ideas
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

In this study, we investigate the role of an important information-disclosure mechanism-patent publication-in facilitating transactions in the market for ideas. We do so by analyzing the effects of the American Inventor’s Protection Act (AIPA) of 1999, which required, as of November 29, 2000, that U.S. patent applications be published 18 months after their filing rather than at the time of patent grant. We develop a simple theoretical framework that yields predictions about the effects of AIPA on the timing of licensing. We then test the predictions using a sample of 339 licenses of biomedical inventions protected by patent applications filed between 1995 and 2005. Consistent with the predictions, we find that post-AIPA patent applications experience a sharp increase in the probability of licensing after 18-month publication, and, on average, are 18 percentage points less likely than pre-AIPA patent applications to wait until allowance to be licensed. Even for patent applications that are not licensed until allowance, 18-month publication shortens the time to licensing. Overall, for inventors that choose to license, 18-month publication accelerates licensing by 8.5 months on average. We conclude that information disclosure through patent publications plays an important role in facilitating transactions in the market for ideas.

Patent Challenges for Standard-Setting in the Global Economy: Lessons from Information and Communication Technology (2013)

October 30, 2013 Comments off

Patent Challenges for Standard-Setting in the Global Economy: Lessons from Information and Communication Technology (2013)
Source: National Research Council

Patent Challenges for Standard-Setting in the Global Economy: Lessons from Information and Communication Technology examines how leading national and multinational standard-setting organizations (SSOs) address patent disclosures, licensing terms, transfers of patent ownership, and other issues that arise in connection with developing technical standards for consumer and other microelectronic products, associated software and components, and communications networks including the Internet. Attempting to balance the interests of patent holders, other participants in standard-setting, standards implementers, and consumers, the report calls on SSOs to develop more explicit policies to avoid patent holdup and royalty-stacking, ensure that licensing commitments carry over to new owners of the patents incorporated in standards, and limit injunctions for infringement of patents with those licensing commitments. The report recommends government measures to increase the transparency of patent ownership and use of standards information to improve patent quality and to reduce conflicts of laws across countries.

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