Chancellor's Professor Dan Burk is speaking at a seminar on 14th May – University of Copenhagen

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08 March 2018

Chancellor's Professor Dan Burk is speaking at a seminar on 14th May

Dan Burk, a Chancellor’s Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine is speeking at a seminar on patents and free speech on 14th May 2018 here at the Faculty.

Abstract - Patents and Expressive Freedom

Dan L. Burk - University of California, Irvine

Patents are intended as a means of promoting innovation through private pecuniary incentives.  But the patent system has for some time been on a collision course with guarantees of expressive freedom.  Computer software patents pose a particular problem in their combination of text and technology, but the problem occurs across a range of communicative technologies.  Recent inflammatory comments by U.S. Judge Haldane Mayer regarding Internet communication patents in the Intellectual Ventures v. Symantec opinion underscore the problem.  In this paper I show, first, that patents clearly affect expressive freedom, second that patents are subject to legal scrutiny for their effect on expressive rights, and third that patents are not excused from scrutiny by virtue of constituting property rights or by virtue of private discretion.  I conclude with some thoughts on the proper level of scrutiny for different types of patents.

Dan L. Burk is Chancellor’s Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine, where he is a founding member of the law faculty.  An internationally prominent authority on issues related to high technology, he lectures, teaches, and writes in the areas of patent, copyright, electronic commerce, and biotechnology law.  He is the author of numerous papers on the legal and societal impact of new technologies, including articles on Internet regulation, on the structure of the patent system, and on the economic analysis of intellectual property law.


Professor Burk holds a B.S. in Microbiology (1985) from Brigham Young University, an M.S. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (1987) from Northwestern University, a J.D. (1990) from Arizona State University, and a J.S.M. (1994) from Stanford University.

Prior to joining the faculty at UC Irvine, he taught at the University of Minnesota.  He has served as a legal advisor to a variety of private, governmental, and intergovernmental organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union Committee on Patent Policy and the OECD Committee on Consumer Protection.