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Brian Kahin
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Brian Kahin is Senior Fellow at the Computer & Communications Industry Association in Washington, where his work focuses on patents, standards, open source, and innovation policy. He is also a research fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he currently teaches a course on innovation and innovation policy with Mike Scherer. He has also taught at Michigan (Ann Arbor), Maryland, and Colorado (Boulder). He was founding director of the Harvard Information Infrastructure Project from 1989 to 1997, the first academic program to address the social, economic, and policy implications of the Internet. He subsequently served as Senior Policy Analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 1997 to 2000. He has edited ten books, including most recently, Advancing Knowledge and the Knowledge Economy with Dominique Foray (MIT Press 2006). He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

Entries by Brian Kahin

Patent Reform and Patent Totalitarianism

(3) Comments | Posted November 10, 2011 | 12:52 PM

Touted as the most extensive revision of the patent law since 1952, the America Invents Act of 2011 was signed by the president on September 16. You might think, in light of the celebration and rhetoric, that the Act was tackling the big problems such as patent trolls,...

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The Age of Disablement

(1) Comments | Posted August 12, 2011 | 12:36 PM

The Great Patent Bubble of 2011

I recently wrote about the $4.5 billion auction for Nortel's portfolio of 6,000 patents that went to a consortium that included Apple, Microsoft, and RIM (Blackberry) -- three of four smartphone platforms. In the wake of this sale, Interdigital has contemplated monetizing its portfolio...

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Buying Freedom to Operate (and Regulate, Tax and Kill)

(1) Comments | Posted July 18, 2011 | 3:13 PM

The Nortel Auction

On June 30, the results of the Nortel bankruptcy auction were announced. A consortium of Apple, Microsoft, RIM (Blackberry), Ericsson, Sony and EMC put up $4.5 billion to acquire Nortel's remaining portfolio of 6,000 patents.

This is not a story about patents motivating invention, or licenses...

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Patents: Getting More Than You Paid For

(2) Comments | Posted July 7, 2011 | 2:29 PM

On June 9, the Supreme Court decided Microsoft v. i4i, upholding the Federal Circuit's rule that "clear and convincing evidence" is needed to invalidate patents in court. A preponderance of the evidence, the usual standard in civil cases, is not enough. Yet the patent examiner cannot be summoned to testify,...

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The Expanding Twilight Zone of Abstract Uncertainty

(0) Comments | Posted July 6, 2010 | 1:28 PM

Monday June 28 was the day the U.S. Supreme Court was to decide the patent case of the century, Bilski v. Kappos, and bring clarity to the debacle of the 1998 State Street Bank decision. In State Street, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (which hears all patent...

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Microsoft Roils the World with FAT Patents

(11) Comments | Posted March 6, 2009 | 11:18 AM

Last week Microsoft roiled the world by filing a patent infringement suit against TomTom, a Dutch maker of GPS devices. Microsoft's shares are trading at an 11-year low and is in the news for laying off workers, but Microsoft still has $20 billion in cash on hand, a good and...

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NPEs and Abstract Patents

(5) Comments | Posted January 8, 2009 | 4:00 PM

Patent attorneys like to argue that the U.S. patent system is the envy of the world, the "gold standard" by which all others are judged. While this may be the view of other patent attorneys around the world, policymakers have viewed the U.S. patent system with growing skepticism after the...

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The Patent Bubble... Still Growing

(2) Comments | Posted September 26, 2008 | 7:27 PM

It's hard to compete for attention with the drama of the big bailout and this presidential race. But bubbles are news, at least when they burst. The patent bubble hasn't burst, but judging by last week's Wall Street Journal story on Intellectual Ventures, it's getting pretty big.

The brainchild of...

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Under the Radar: Two Tales From the Secret Life of Patents

(5) Comments | Posted July 25, 2008 | 8:02 PM

Two recent developments show sides of the patent system not normally exposed to public view.

The first was ignored by the media: A firm called Channel Intelligence has sued 17 small websites, including three owned by individuals, for infringing a broad patent on user-generated lists. Almost ignored, except that...

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Patents for All: The System That Could Not Contain Itself

(8) Comments | Posted June 10, 2008 | 3:10 PM

Yesterday, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit in Quanta v. LG. Electronics. This was a technical case about the power of patent holders to extract fees from downstream component assemblers, systems integrators, vendors, and end users. Value chains run deep and wide in information...

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At the Heart of the Knowledge Economy: Should Patents Be Limited To Technology?

(6) Comments | Posted May 6, 2008 | 2:54 PM

Forget the inter-sector warfare over patent reform that is presently stalled in the Senate. Today a bigger battle is underway in court over where to draw the line between patentable ideas and abstract ideas. The case, In re Bilski, is being heard by the Court of Appeals for the Federal...

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Too Many Patents? How Patent Inflation Plagues Information Technology

(8) Comments | Posted February 7, 2008 | 8:44 PM

by Brian Kahin, Senior Fellow, Computer & Communications Industry Association

In 2004, Brandeis economist Adam Jaffe and Harvard Business School professor Josh Lerner published Innovation and its Discontents: How Our Broken Patent System is Endangering Innovation and Progress, and What to Do About It - a rare book on patents...

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