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Projects

A Status Report from the Software Decompilation Battle

For traditional media, such as novels, copyright represents a “bargain” between the individual author and the general public: the author has an exclusive right to make and sell copies, but anyone can look at the novel, learn from its ideas, and use those ideas as a stimulus for the creation and a reward for the publication of new works. However, computer code by its unique nature, to wit, its invisibility, its not readily accessibility, makes it a quite unconventional subject matter for enjoying copyright protection all around the world.

Birth of the First-Download Doctrine—The Application of the First-Sale Doctrine to Internet Downloads under EU and U.S. Copyright Law

In the landmark case of UsedSoft GmbH v. Oracle International Corp. (C-128/11), the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has held that the re-sale of "used" software does not violate E.U. copyright law even if the software was not initially purchased on a tangible medium such as a CD but downloaded from the software manufacturer's website. The same principles are likely to apply to other categories of copyrighted works. If the ECJ's interpretation of the first sale doctrine is applied generally, the exhaustion of the distribution right to any copyrighted work would occur at the point where a copy of a work is downloaded in exchange for remuneration and the user is given the right to use the downloaded copy for an unlimited period. Since neither a sale—strictly speaking—nor the transfer of title in a material object is required, through a new “First-Download Doctrine”, the first-sale doctrine has effectively been extended by the ECJ, and this may eventually enable the development of a large second-hand market in electronic copies of copyrighted works such as movies, ebooks, or songs.

Brief Review of Nanotechnology Related Activities in Italy

Nanotechnology is a multifaceted sector which is gaining greater importance day after day. Many products incorporating or made through nanotechnology applications are already on the market, and the common opinion surrounding this technology is that future applications and products will range from advanced materials science to medicine, defense, electronics, coating and so forth.

Charitopia

Charitopia is Web site that matches donors of equipment and supplies with charities able to use or resell those items. It can be thought of an an "eBay for charities." Donors can list available items and/or search for items needed by charities. Charities can list their needs and/or search for items available from willing donors.

EU E-Commerce Law Project

The European Union E-Commerce Law Project is co-sponsored by the Stanford-Vienna Transatlantic Technology Law Forum, the Stanford Center for E-Commerce, and the Forum on Contemporary Europe (Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies).

This project examines the law and policy of the European Union regarding online businesses as well as the relevant economic governance issues and regulatory practices affecting the online transatlantic (EU-U.S.)marketplace.

EU Privacy Regulation Compliance in the Consumer-Internet Industry

The purpose of the research is to investigate the business and legal rationale driving (or preventing) EU privacy compliance for different types of Internet companies (according to their respective business models and dimensions). The research project involves an empirical analysis of the business consequences of the EU privacy regulation in the consumer-Internet industry.

Extraterritoriality in Patent Law: A Comparative Analysis of Extraterritorial Application of Patent Law

For more than a century the territoriality of intellectual property rights (IPRs) seemed to be an axiom, with patent law as its most prominent example. As a matter of fact, however, the respective laws never were applied strictly territorially. From the outset, the territorial restriction imposed on IPRs created loopholes for possible infringers, thereby leading legislators and courts to extend the reach of IP laws beyond their national borders every now and then. With the realities of global commerce and borderless high-technology as exemplified in particular by the Internet, telecommunications and distributed computing, the number of cases raising the issue of extraterritoriality in IP law has skyrocketed. The occurrence of domestic IP rights infringing behaviour outside of the respective national boundaries has become the rule and increasingly contrasts with the territorial view of domestic IP laws.

Grantbacks and Other Agreements on the Future Innovation of Licensees in EC and US Antitrust Laws

Parties to licensing agreements often agree on the licensor’s rights to the licensee’s future improvements and new applications, whether through explicit grantback obligations or through cross-licensing agreements or non-assertion clauses that also cover the licensee’s future intellectual property rights. Such agreements can be used, for instance, to prevent licensee hold-up, keep the licensor’s technology competitive, or better allocate risk among the parties.

Liability of Internet Intermediaries in Relation to Trademark and Copyright Infringements

Over the past ten years, Internet intermediaries’ liability for user-generated content has been one of the most burning issues facing Intellectual Property courts in Europe and in the United States. Although the relevant legal frameworks are quite similar on both continents, their application by the U.S. courts and by some European jurisdictions has been substantially different. In particular, some national courts in the EU have found Internet intermediaries liable for trademark and copyright infringements in relation to user-generated content several times over the past ten years.

Licensing and Standard Setting Cooperation: Ex Ante Arrangements for the Licensing of Essential IPRs

Ensuring that the commercial objectives and the economic benefits of standard setting cooperation are realized requires that, in particular, two potential problems are addressed: first, the risk that essential IPRs are used to hold up those implementing the standard, and second, the problem that the aggregate royalties of the complementary essential IPRs reach a supra-optimal level.

Margin Squeezes in the Telecommunications Industry under Antitrust Rules: A Comparative Analysis of the EC and US Approaches

The increase in competition that has resulted from a progressive opening up of telecommunications markets in the US and the EU has assumed advantages for consumers. The existence of a choice of operators has increased price competition, which has generally resulted in lower prices. Nonetheless, the benefits of enhanced competition in downstream markets may be jeopardized if a former monopolist supplies an input for its competitors at the upstream level. It may choose to charge competitors a higher price for that input, and this may have a knock-on impact on the price of the products offered in competitive downstream markets, as it may prevent competitors from achieving the desired profit. This practice is known as “margin squeezes”.

Nanotechnology Commercialization for Managers and Scientists: Transatlantic Perspectives

The nanotechnology industry is a fast growing industry with many unique characteristics. When bringing the results of nanotechnology research to market, companies and universities run into unforeseen problems related to intellectual property rights and other legal and regulatory issues. An effective commercialization of the results of research requires basic knowledge of the relevant issues and a well-defined strategy. Even the most impressive scientific achievements can become a commercial failure due to a lack of understanding of, and the absence of a strategy relating to, the legal and regulatory issues surrounding the commercialization of a technology. This research addresses all these issues from the view of managers and scientists interested in an effective commercialization of nanotechnology innovations.

New Directions in the Governance of Communication: Competition Policy and Market Power Control in Convergent Communication Sectors

Over the past few decades there has been a common understanding that general competition rules would not be sufficient per se to maintain a diverse and pluralistic media industry. Media concentration was seen as a threat to democracy, and a far-reaching sector-specific regulatory framework was put in place to guarantee media plurality and a free and diverse communications landscape. An example of such sector-specific regulation would be ownership prohibitions both within and across traditionally distinct media, such as restrictions on common ownership of broadcasting and newspapers, or telephone and cable.

Patent Enforcement: Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief in Germany, Japan and the U.S.

A patent confers on its holder the right to exclude others from the use of the invention protected by the patent. During the modern history of patent law, a patentee’s claim for permanent injunctive action has therefore been widely perceived as the logical consequence of a patent infringement. Such understanding changed fundamentally in the U.S., when the Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the matter eBay, Inc. v. MercExchange, LLC (547 U.S. 388 (2006)).

Patent Trolls: A Comparative Investigation of Non-practicing Entities in the US and EU

Is it true that “patent trolls” are primarily a U.S. phenomenon? Over time, several definitions of “patent trolls” have been presented. In its most pejorative sense, this term refers to non-practicing entities whose exclusive business is asserting patents claims and, in so doing, extracting value from companies operating in certain industries. Patent trolls are a relatively new phenomenon. Studies have shown, for example, that their activity became prominent in the U.S. during the last decade. These studies also seem to indicate that patent trolls are not nearly as active in other countries, namely the EU, as they are in the U.S.

Project CALC (Computer Assisted Legal Compliance)

Project CALC explores the application of computational law — the representation of legal rules in electronic form — within the field of building design and construction. CALC will examine the degree to which existing laws governing the domain of building design can modeled within computer systems and made to interact with systems currently used in the field.

Regulating Information Security in the EU and the U.S. by Mandating Targeted Transparency

There is little disagreement in the EU and the U.S. about information security (often also referred to as cybersecurity) being an increasingly important issue warranting some extent of regulatory intervention. The regulatory approaches chosen so far in the EU and the U.S. have either (1) required the implementation of security measures; (2) imposed or limited liability for security breaches; (3) imposed criminal sanctions for malicious actors; or (4) mandated the disclosure of security breaches to allow the individuals concerned to take reactive measures.

This paper will show that all these approaches implemented in EU and U.S. law fail to address the problem of information asymmetry. The research in the area of economics of information security has long established that information asymmetry is a fundamental obstacle to any significant improvements.

Regulating the Race to Renewables – a Transatlantic Policy Comparison

The transatlantic quest for the best promotional policy for renewable energy technologies – sometimes referred to as the “race to renewables” – has received much attention in the engineering and economic literature. A whole phalanx of studies discusses the technological feasibility of a timely transition to renewables. Economists offer a multitude of indicators and models designed to assess and compare the efficiency of competing policies and strands of renewable energy technologies. In contrast, the transatlantic potpourri of promotional policies has thus far illicited relatively little attention in the legal literature, especially among comparativists.

Revisiting Net Neutrality – A Comparative Legal Analysis of Potential Regulatory Solutions in the European Union and the United States

The advent of Information and Communication Technologies has triggered a new and fierce debate on how democratic societies may best safeguard and preserve the free and indiscriminate flow of information to citizens in the 21st century. The Internet as a communicative and informative tool permeates every layer of society. At the same time, the Internet has become a global public forum for economic growth and innovation. The Internet’s enormous economic and societal significance raises the stakes with regard to the question of how, if at all, it should best be regulated. In this context, the Net Neutrality principle can be considered the single most pressing regulatory issue to be addressed in the near and midterm future in both the United States and the European Union. 

Stanford Intellectual Property Exchange (SIPX)

A team of leading intellectual property lawyers and computer scientists seek to create and deploy an online intellectual property exchange (SIPX), with robust commercial and non-commercial functionalities, which is equally accessible to individual content creators, large media companies, consumers, and others.

The Enforcement of Patent Rights in Germany, Japan and the U.S.

A patent confers on its holder (the patentee) the privilege to exclude a non-authorized party from using the technology invented by the patentee and protected by the patent. That said, a patent is only valuable if it is enforceable. Germany, Japan und the U.S. are the most important and arguably the most advanced jurisdictions, when it comes to patent right protections. Given the long industrial history of these nations who were the largest economies during the latter half of the twentieth century, a tendency to recognize a strong need for protection of innovations and inventions seems only logical. Germany, Japan and the U.S. have made substantial efforts to develop an efficient system of patent enforcement.

The Patent Application: A Comparison between Europe and the U.S.

Research and development are key elements of a competitive and dynamic knowledge based economy. Patents, in particular, are a driving force for promoting innovation and growth. At the 2007 Summit in Washington, the EU and U.S. emphasized their joint goal to strengthen the transatlantic economic partnership including a strong focus on Intellectual Property Rights. Transatlantic trade barriers and unnecessary differences between the regulatory systems of the U.S. and Europe shall be eliminated or at least reduced.

Unbundling of Software Volume Licenses as a New Business Model: A Question of Exhaustion under EU and U.S. Copyright Laws?

Recently, a market for so-called "second-hand software" has emerged in Europe, particularly in Germany. The business model of second-hand software retailers is to purchase all licenses or individual unbundled component-licenses originating from a volume software package from insolvent or downsizing companies and make those licenses available to third parties at discount prices below the prices of any reseller authorized by the software copyright owner. Possibly as a consequence of the upheaval in the financial markets, second-hand licensing has proven to be an issue of legal and practical interest not only in Europe but also around the world. Although the concept of the new business model is economically sound, the legal implications have not yet been settled by either U.S. or EU copyright laws.