Examining the societal impact of tech innovation.

New technologies are being created and introduced into the marketplace so rapidly that their pervasive influence on society occurs long before policymakers can adapt laws and regulations. The Technology & Policy Research Initiative (TPRI) at Boston University School of Law conducts research on how new technology impacts society and on the policies that can best shape that impact. TPRI is focusing 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 headed by Executive Director James Bessena School of Law lecturer who studies technology and innovation policy, and Faculty Director Michael Meurer, a BU Law professor who teaches courses in patents, intellectual property, and policy toward high-tech industries. Together, they 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.

Bessen and Meurer are joined by scholars with deep expertise in a range of critical areas including data privacy, supply chain management, entrepreneurship, and patent standards. TPRI also supports the research of law students, graduate students, and post-docs.