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MSU College of Law

Public Domain(s):
Law, Generating Knowledge, and Furthering Innovation in the Information Economy

Thursday, October 2, 2014
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Evening Reception to follow at
The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

Friday, October 3, 2014
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Innovation policy faces a familiar conflict over the role of law in limiting and encouraging access to information. On one hand, patent, copyright, and trade secret law create property rights that restrict the public’s use of certain information, in order to encourage innovation and knowledge creation. At the same time, intellectual property law also recognizes that access to information is vital to innovation and explicitly encourages access and dissemination through mechanisms such as public domain, patent disclosure, and fair use.

This symposium examines this familiar conflict through a broad lens, aiming to find common themes or lessons from the many areas of law that impact innovation policy. Using as spring boards the recently decided Supreme Court cases, Bowman v. Monsanto Co. and American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., the symposium asks whether intellectual property law is creating any coherent rules—or even coherent approaches—to evaluating this conflict. Looking beyond IP, the symposium recognizes this conflict in network industries, as evidenced the FCC’s recent “network neutrality” order and goes onto to look to alternatives to IP in encouraging innovation.

For more information, please contact the Michigan State Law Review Senior Symposium Editor, William J. Cox, at 937-903-7441 or

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