Some Possible Paper Ideas
All of this year's students should already be at work on papers, so
this page is mostly for the next time I teach the course, but just
in case ...
1. 3-D Printing and The Death of Patent
Arguably, the easy copying and transmission of data in digital form
is in the process of making copyright law unenforceable, since most
of what it protects is or will be in digital form. 3-D printing is a
technology with the potential to do something similar for patent
law—make it possible for ordinary people to produce physical objects
from data with equipment they themselves own. Discuss.
2. I.P. and Molecular Nanotechnology
Molecular nanotech, building machines engineered at the atomic
level, as living beings are engineered, is a technology with the
potential to radically change the world. Once general purpose
assemblers can be built, most of the cost of products built via
nanotech will be the cost of designing them, not the cost of
building them, giving an economy much like the current software
economy. How will or should I.P. apply?
For information on molecular nanotech, see www.foresight.org, especially the
3. Games such as Magic the Gathering or Settlers of
Catan owe their success in part to novel ideas embedded in
them, ideas frequently copied by later games. Are such ideas
protectable under current I.P. law? Should they be?
4. Cloning is an ancient technology for plants, a new one for
animals. Current I.P. law provides some protection for plant
varieties that are asexually reproduced. Now that we can reproduce
animals asexually, ought similar protections be created? What if the
animals are human?
Feel free to send me any ideas you have that you do not plan to use
yourself, so that I can add them.