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Gaétan de Rassenfosse
École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
@gderasse
What is Intellectual Property (IP)?
Just like a bicycle lock protects your bike against theft…
… intellectual property protects your “intellectual creations” against theft.
Patents…
… are used to protect inventions.
Trademarks…
…are used to protect signs or expressions.
Designs…
… are used to protect the visual aspect of objects.
Copyrights…
… are used to protect artistic creations.
Geographical indications…
… are used to protect products that have a specific geographic origin.
Why do we need IP?
IP protects your ideas from being stolen…
…but wouldn’t the world be a better place if ideas were freely exchanged?
Yes! But we need to make sure that ideas are being created in the first place.
Investment in innovation is subject to a market failure,
which implies that some inventions will not see the light of day.
Market failures occur when private incentives are not aligned with social incentives.
Individuals have an incentive to rush out of a burning carriage,
possibly stepping on others.
Government can intervene and evacuate people in an orderly way.
Government intervention has solved the market failure.
The innovation process is subject to a market failure.
Let us consider an innovator who has an idea and wants to exploit it.
Before exploiting it, he thinks carefully about the various hurdles that he will face.
Innovation is costly…
Before exploiting it, he thinks carefully about the various hurdles that he will face.
… innovation is risky…
Before exploiting it, he thinks carefully about the various hurdles that he will face.
… and innovation is prone to imitation.
Thinking of all these hurdles, the inventor may decide not to innovate.
This innovation may not see the light of day,
even though the world would be better off if this invention were created.
Government can intervene by granting a patent, that is, a temporary monopoly right.
A patent ensures that the innovation will not be copied.
The extra benefits provided by the patent may induce inventors to innovate.
In short, IP serves mainly to incentivize innovators…
…by making sure that they will be able to get financial rewards from their creations.
Patent protection is particularly useful for costly-to-invent but cheap-to-imitate ideas.
A typical example is the pharmaceutical industry.
Even open source software relies on IP, namely copyrights.
An open source license imposes duties on users,
such as citing the original author and sharing improvements.
Sometimes, there are better ways to incentivize innovators.
For example, chefs protect their innovations thanks to reputation and secrecy.
Patents also have an “information sharing” aspect.
Patents also have an “information sharing” aspect.
The government discloses the technical details of the inventions to the public.
But IP also has adverse effects, e.g., it can sometimes hamper follow-on innovation.
Especially when a technology space is crowded by broad patents
or when an IP right is fragmented among too many firms.
There are still many open questions…
… and, hence, active research in the area!
I have a great idea. Can I patent it?
In theory, the government should give patent protection only to inventions
that would not have been invented if patent protection did not exist.
In practice, it is difficult to tell which inventions would not have been invented.
Hence governments impose that inventions be “non-obvious.”
Not every invention is patentable!
It must be novel, non-obvious and useful.
The invention must also be patentable subject matter.
This excludes, e.g., discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods.
If you have overcome these barriers, there is another one…
… a patent is costly!
First, you must pay drafting fees to the patent attorney.
Next, you must pay filing fees in every country in which you seek protection.
Indeed, a patent is a geographic right.
Next, you must pay filing fees in every country in which you seek protection.
Indeed, a patent is a geographic right.
Next, you must pay filing fees in every country in which you seek protection.
Indeed, a patent is a geographic right.
Next, you must pay filing fees in every country in which you seek protection.
Indeed, a patent is a geographic right.
Finally, you must have “deep pockets” to go to court if your invention is copied.
A patent is less useful if you can’t afford to defend it in court.
Oh, and don’t forget to pay renewal fees regularly to maintain your patent in force…
… for a period of maximum 20 years.
German version English version French version
www.le-ba-ba-de-la-pi.comwww.abc-of-ip.comwww.ip-fuer-einsteiger.com
Do you want to know more about IP (but still in a fun way)?
Read the companion comic book. It is free!
Thank you
This presentation and others are available at
www.slideshare.net/gderasse
@gderasse

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A Comic Introduction to Intellectual Property

  • 1.
  • 2. Gaétan de Rassenfosse École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne @gderasse
  • 3. What is Intellectual Property (IP)?
  • 4. Just like a bicycle lock protects your bike against theft… … intellectual property protects your “intellectual creations” against theft.
  • 5. Patents… … are used to protect inventions.
  • 6. Trademarks… …are used to protect signs or expressions.
  • 7. Designs… … are used to protect the visual aspect of objects.
  • 8. Copyrights… … are used to protect artistic creations.
  • 9. Geographical indications… … are used to protect products that have a specific geographic origin.
  • 10. Why do we need IP?
  • 11. IP protects your ideas from being stolen… …but wouldn’t the world be a better place if ideas were freely exchanged?
  • 12. Yes! But we need to make sure that ideas are being created in the first place. Investment in innovation is subject to a market failure, which implies that some inventions will not see the light of day.
  • 13. Market failures occur when private incentives are not aligned with social incentives. Individuals have an incentive to rush out of a burning carriage, possibly stepping on others.
  • 14. Government can intervene and evacuate people in an orderly way. Government intervention has solved the market failure.
  • 15. The innovation process is subject to a market failure. Let us consider an innovator who has an idea and wants to exploit it.
  • 16. Before exploiting it, he thinks carefully about the various hurdles that he will face. Innovation is costly…
  • 17. Before exploiting it, he thinks carefully about the various hurdles that he will face. … innovation is risky…
  • 18. Before exploiting it, he thinks carefully about the various hurdles that he will face. … and innovation is prone to imitation.
  • 19. Thinking of all these hurdles, the inventor may decide not to innovate. This innovation may not see the light of day, even though the world would be better off if this invention were created.
  • 20. Government can intervene by granting a patent, that is, a temporary monopoly right. A patent ensures that the innovation will not be copied.
  • 21. The extra benefits provided by the patent may induce inventors to innovate.
  • 22. In short, IP serves mainly to incentivize innovators… …by making sure that they will be able to get financial rewards from their creations.
  • 23. Patent protection is particularly useful for costly-to-invent but cheap-to-imitate ideas. A typical example is the pharmaceutical industry.
  • 24. Even open source software relies on IP, namely copyrights. An open source license imposes duties on users, such as citing the original author and sharing improvements.
  • 25. Sometimes, there are better ways to incentivize innovators. For example, chefs protect their innovations thanks to reputation and secrecy.
  • 26. Patents also have an “information sharing” aspect.
  • 27. Patents also have an “information sharing” aspect. The government discloses the technical details of the inventions to the public.
  • 28. But IP also has adverse effects, e.g., it can sometimes hamper follow-on innovation. Especially when a technology space is crowded by broad patents or when an IP right is fragmented among too many firms.
  • 29. There are still many open questions… … and, hence, active research in the area!
  • 30. I have a great idea. Can I patent it?
  • 31. In theory, the government should give patent protection only to inventions that would not have been invented if patent protection did not exist. In practice, it is difficult to tell which inventions would not have been invented. Hence governments impose that inventions be “non-obvious.”
  • 32. Not every invention is patentable! It must be novel, non-obvious and useful.
  • 33. The invention must also be patentable subject matter. This excludes, e.g., discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods.
  • 34. If you have overcome these barriers, there is another one… … a patent is costly!
  • 35. First, you must pay drafting fees to the patent attorney.
  • 36. Next, you must pay filing fees in every country in which you seek protection. Indeed, a patent is a geographic right.
  • 37. Next, you must pay filing fees in every country in which you seek protection. Indeed, a patent is a geographic right.
  • 38. Next, you must pay filing fees in every country in which you seek protection. Indeed, a patent is a geographic right.
  • 39. Next, you must pay filing fees in every country in which you seek protection. Indeed, a patent is a geographic right.
  • 40. Finally, you must have “deep pockets” to go to court if your invention is copied. A patent is less useful if you can’t afford to defend it in court.
  • 41. Oh, and don’t forget to pay renewal fees regularly to maintain your patent in force… … for a period of maximum 20 years.
  • 42. German version English version French version www.le-ba-ba-de-la-pi.comwww.abc-of-ip.comwww.ip-fuer-einsteiger.com Do you want to know more about IP (but still in a fun way)? Read the companion comic book. It is free!
  • 43. Thank you This presentation and others are available at www.slideshare.net/gderasse @gderasse