Patterns of Information Law
Intellectual Property Done Right
Patterns of Information Law is the coursepack I assembled for my fall 2016 intellectual property survey at Cornell Tech. (It draws heavily on materials I used in prior semesters at the University of Maryland and at New York Law School.) I am making it freely available under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license for anyone who would like to adopt or adapt it.
Please see the Introduction for a detailed explanation of what this book is about. In brief, here are my commitments:
- Intellectual property consists of private rights to prevent other people from using information.
- I have tried to include a much wider range of IP fields and related areas than is typical, with coverage including undeveloped ideas, trade secrets, privacy law, government classification, FOIA, utility patents, copyright, state-law copyright for pre-1972 sound recordings, anti-bootlegging, trademark, unfair competition, business names, ticker symbols, stage names, false advertising, geographic indications, rights of publicity, moral rights, personal names, defamation, design, architecture copyright, design patent, semiconductor mask works, vessel hulls, fashion, software, biotechnology, plant patents, plant variety protections, and FDA control over drug approval and marketing.
- I have imposed a highly standardized structure on most bodies of IP law, dividing them into subject matter, ownership, procedures, similarity, prohibited conduct, and defenses — and with further standardized subdivisions within each of these topics. I hope that this brings clarity to the internal worksing of IP fields and facilitates their comparative study.
- I have ruthlessly edited down most of the cases, and ignored editorial conventions that get in the way of readability. I have removed procedural postures, citations, and frequently even facts and holdings. I have also freely reordered material within cases and dropped most of the usual editorial apparatus of brackets and ellipses. These are teaching materials, not a legal brief. If it matters what the original says, consult the original.
- I have formatted the book with numerous illustrations, heavy use of color, and
extensive marginalia. Almost all citations are removed to the margin, along with other material I felt would be distracting if included in the main text.
If you disagree with these choices, this probably isn’t the book for you. That’s fine, and I accept it. If you see something here you want to borrow while leaving the rest alone, that’s fine too. Whatever utility, however slight, you find in these pages will make me happy.
Be warned that this casebook is being provided as-is. It contains numerous formatting errors of which I’m aware — and probably contains numerous substantive errors that I haven’t yet spotted. I hope but can’t promise to fix them when I next teach the course, tentatively for the fall of 2017.