Pamela Samuelson

Pamela Samuelson Explains Intent of Copyright Reform Project

Copyhype, November 1, 2010 by Terry Hart

The Copyright Principles Project came about in part from Samuelson’s idea of creating a “model copyright law” … which could provide “an inchoate vision of a ‘good’ copyright law”; ”provide a platform from which to launch specific copyright reforms”: and prove useful as a resource to courts and commentators as they try to interpret ambiguous provisions of the existing statutes.”

Pamela Samuelson Accepts Public Knowledge IP3 Award

National Journal, Tech Daily Dose, October 14, 2010 by Eliza Krigman

Pamela Samuelson, professor at UC Berkeley’s Law School and School of Information, took home the Information Policy prize. “I can’t even program my way out a paper bag,” she joked to the crowd about her lack of technical expertise while thanking everyone for appreciating her work on the legal side of digital issues.

Pamela Samuelson Recommends Copyright Law Reform

-San Francisco Chronicle, September 26, 2010 by Pamela Samuelson

Did you ever imagine you could be held liable for copyright infringement for storing your music collection on your hard drive, downloading photos from the Internet or forwarding news articles to your friends? If you did not get the copyright owner’s permission for these actions, you could be violating the law. It sounds absurd, but copyright owners have the right to control reproductions of their works and claim statutory damages even when a use does not harm the market for their works.

-Los Angeles Examiner, September 28, 2010 by Seth Chavez

Professor Samuelson says such user-generated content challenges copyright law because it’s typically created by non-professionals—amateurs with different needs than, say, Hollywood studios. “Copyright law touches us all on a daily basis and now millions of people who create user-generated works have become copyright stakeholders,” said professor Samuelson. “Copyright law needs to be simpler, understandable, and more flexible to change with the times.”

Pamela Samuelson Finds Patents a Low Priority for Software Entrepreneurs

-PRWire, September 3, 2010 by Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian

“First mover advantages, reputation, and complementary assets are going to be much more important to firms than patents. In the software industry, we discovered that copyrights, trademarks, and secrecy are more important than patents in achieving competitive advantage.”

-The Wall Street Journal, Venture Capital Dispatch, September 8, 2010 by Jason Mendelson, Paul Kedrosky, Brad Feld

This analysis isn’t just our opinion, but also that of Samuelson, who recently wrote the following summary regarding the importance of patents to entrepreneurs: “Two-thirds of the approximately 700 software entrepreneurs who participated in the 2008 Berkeley Patent Survey report that they neither have nor are seeking patents for innovations embodied in their products and services. These entrepreneurs rate patents as the least important mechanism among seven options for attaining competitive advantage in the marketplace.”

Robert Merges and Pamela Samuelson Analyze Patent Survey Findings

-Patently-O Blog, Parts I-III July 19-21, 2010 by Robert Merges, Pamela Samuelson, and Ted Sichelman

The 2008 Berkeley Patent Survey has found that startups are patenting more than previous studies have suggested; that patents are being sought for a variety of reasons, the most prominent of which is to prevent copying of the innovation; and that there are considerable differences among startups in the perceived significance of patents for attaining competitive advantage, with biotech companies rating them as the most important strategy and software companies rating them least important.

Our fourth major result is that our respondents—particularly software companies—find the high costs of patenting and enforcing their patents deter them from filing for patents on their innovations. Given the reported importance of patents to startups not only in the financing process, but also for strategic reasons—especially for increasing bargaining power—these cost barriers are worrisome.

The data, however, present an interesting paradox: If executives believe that patents provide relatively weak incentives to innovate, why are so many startup firms seeking them? Our first post indicated that securing financing was a reason why many firms reported seeking patents…. Raising money, rather than invention itself, may be the key.

-O’Reilly Radar, July 21, 2010 by Pamela Samuelson

The initial findings reported here and in the larger article suggest that software entrepreneurs do not find persuasive the canonical story that patents provide strong incentives to invest in technology innovation.

-Technology Review, Feld Thoughts Blog, July 28, 2010 by Brad Feld

The juiciest conclusion is about halfway through the essay and is “One of the most striking findings of our study is that software firms ranked patents dead last among seven strategies for attaining competitive advantage identified by the survey.” Another one was “We were surprised to discover that the software respondents reported that patents provide only weak incentives for engaging in core activities, such as invention of new products (.96) and commercialization (.93).”

Pamela Samuelson and Robert Merges Find Patents Low Priority for Software Start-Ups

-San Francisco Chronicle, June 23, 2010 by Tom Abate

“More than 80 percent of the biotech, medical device and hardware firms we surveyed have or have applied for patents,” said study co-author Pamela Samuelson, a law professor at UC Berkeley. “About two-thirds of software firms have no patents and have not applied for any.”

Study co-author Robert Merges, a UC Berkeley law professor, said the next step in the research would be to establish how patents and other intellectual property strategies affected business outcomes and job creation.

-KCBS-AM, June 23, 2010 Host Patti Reising

“We didn’t know really how important intellectual property rights and in particular patents were to entrepreneurs. We thought they would be pretty important to biotech companies and less important to software companies—and we did find that. But the findings were more striking than we had expected because even biotech firms really only reported that patents were a moderate incentive to invest in innovation, whereas software companies said that patents were the least important among many strategies for attaining competitive advantage. And that was a surprising finding.”

-Patently-O Blog, June 29, 2010 by Ted Sichelman

In a recent survey of startup firms, the Berkeley Patent Survey—which I conducted with Robert Merges and Pamela Samuelson of UC Berkeley School of Law and Stuart Graham (now Chief Economist at the PTO)—startup executives reported that nearly 70% of venture capital firms and 50% of angel investors said that patents were important to their investment decisions.

Pamela Samuelson Surveys High-Tech Startups, April 30, 2010 by Jonathan Corbet

According to this survey, 65% of software companies have no interest in software patents; they do not see patents as an important part of doing business. That compares with 82% of non-software companies which said they were working toward the acquisition of patents. It is worth noting that companies with venture capital backing had a higher level of interest in software patents than those without.

Pamela Samuelson Questions Photographers’ Copyright Suit against Google

-The Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2010 by Scott Morrison (requires registration; go to G:\Law School in the News\News Clips for article)

“Google does not make available any of the visual material that might be in the books, unless the copyright holder has agreed to it,” said Pamela Samuelson, a digital copyright expert at University of California at Berkeley. “I don’t really think this lawsuit has as good a chance as the authors’ lawsuit.”

-Information Today, Inc., April 15, 2010 by Nancy Herther

“Google has a better fair use defense in this case than in the Author’s Guild case, and it will be difficult to certify a class here because Google is not displaying photos or other visual images unless they believe they have permission, which maybe they do under contracts with publishers,” Samuelson notes.

Pamela Samuelson Urges Publishers to Change Focus of Copyright Debate

Publisher’s Weekly, March 4, 2010 by Jim Milliot

Pamela Samuelson, director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology at UC Berkeley, while agreeing that publishers need to do a better job explaining the importance of copyright, disagreed that framing the issue as a war was the correct approach, saying that would turn customers into enemies. She said publishers should experiment with pricing and different business models to meet the changing expectations of consumers.

Pamela Samuelson Argues against Google Book Deal

-Library Journal, February 18, 2010 by Norman Oder

She said “the Authors Guild has not fairly represented academic authors.” Academic authors would not have brought a lawsuit based on snippets, she added. Then, in reference to the unlikely possibility that the case would continue to trial, she said, “If this case go forward, I’ll be writing briefs in support of Google, not the Authors Guild.”