The Technology & Policy Research Initiative hosted two conferences in July, welcoming professors of intellectual property, economics, and history to BU Law.
Boston University School of Law was pleased to welcome scholars of intellectual property, law and economics, history, and more for two conferences organized by the Technology & Policy Research Initiative (TPRI). Dean Designate Angela Onwuachi-Willig welcomed guests to the Competition Conference on July 23. “Professors Mike Meurer and Jim Bessen, who launched TPRI eighteen months ago, have gathered an accomplished list of speakers and commentators who will contribute to today’s dialogue,” she said. “One that I’m sure will be a thought provoking and lively discussion.”
The Competition Conference, held on July 23, featured presentations about the role of new technologies and empirical studies of policies that obstruct or incentivize competition in markets. Keynote speaker Fiona Scott Morton, the Theodore Nierenberg Professor of Economics at the Yale School of Management and former deputy assistant attorney general for economics at the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice, discussed competition enforcement practices.
The 2018 Intellectual Property Day Conference focused on the historical role of patents in growing economies, developing new institutions, and promoting innovation. The papers presented offered comparative studies of historical and international patent systems, and the day concluded with a panel addressing contemporary patent challenges.
The Technology & Policy Research Initiative was launched in July 2017 to research how new technology impacts society and how intellectual property policies can best shape that impact. Research focuses on the effects of new technology on the workforce, intellectual property policies that can encourage innovation, and how government policies affect employee incentives, startup creation, market competition, and economic dynamism generally. The initiative is led by BU Law professors James Bessen and Michael Meurer, who together wrote the 2008 book, Patent Failure: How Judges, Bureaucrats, and Lawyers Put Innovators at Risk, in which they argue that patents can provide incentives to invest in research, development, and commercialization, but when property rights are not clearly defined, patents can, instead, lead to costly disputes and excessive litigation that undermine innovation.
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