Center for Empirical Studies of Intellectual Property
IIT Chicago-Kent's Center for Empirical Studies of Intellectual Property, the first academic center of its kind in the nation, promotes the application of quantitative and qualitative social science methods to studying important questions about innovation and creativity.
Why Empirical Methods?
Intellectual property (IP) law is based on many assumptions about how creators and innovators behave, how markets for inventions operate, and how judges and juries adjudicate IP disputes. Despite the prominence of these assumptions in IP doctrine, their accuracy has rarely been tested. Empirical studies—employing controlled experiments, data collection from real-world cases, and structured interviews—can examine the validity of IP law's basic assumptions and provide recommendations for promoting innovation and increasing the efficiency of the system.
Exemplary Research Questions
- How do creators and juries think about the value of IP?
- What is the role of non-practicing entities in the patent system?
- How should IP law incentivize creativity and innovation?
- How do contingent fee lawyers affect IP litigation?
- What are the effects of the public domain on copyrighted works?
- What affects trademark strength and distinctiveness?
The Center's Goals
The Center will promote the use of empirical methods to study IP in a number of ways. Empirical research can be expensive, and the Center will provide funding to support empirical research on IP and innovation. In addition, the Center will host regular conferences where researchers, attorneys and judges can discuss research questions and methods. Finally, the Center plans to support faculty fellows and law students interested in doing empirical research on IP.
Why IIT Chicago-Kent?
IIT Chicago-Kent has long been at the forefront of IP law scholarship. Since joining the faculty in 2009, Professor Christopher Buccafusco and Professor David Schwartz, the Center's co-directors, have extended this tradition and established themselves as two of the leading empirical scholars of IP law. Their research has been published in leading law reviews, including the University of Chicago Law Review, Michigan Law Review and Cornell Law Review.