Since my prior two updates, we have five new posts in the Innovation Law Beyond IP blog symposium. First, Michael Burstein and Fiona Murray described their new paper on Governing Innovation Prizes. They note that real-world prizes are different from those modeled in the economic literature, and they begin to remedy this empirical gap through a case study of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize.
Second, Jonathan Masur provides some thoughtful comments on both Burstein & Murray's prizes paper and a paper on NIH grant funding by Bhaven Sampat. Masur notes two important findings of Burstein & Murray's case study—the importance of process over substance, and the role of external motivations such as reputational gains—and wonders how these findings will scale to larger competitions between profit-maximizing competitors. He also describes Sampat's paper, Serendipity, which finds that a substantial number of new drugs appear to result from NIH grants that were nominally directed at a different field of study. Sampat acknowledges that it is possible that these results are not serendipitous: researches may have applied for whatever grants were available while strategically intending to do research in different fields. But Masur notes that it might not matter: "the point is that the grants are generating valuable medical research in areas that the funding agencies never contemplated." Masur also notes that both papers are engaged in an important conversation about "the necessity, or the effectiveness, of trying to centrally direct research through funding rules."
Third, Orly Lobel has posted about her book, Talent Wants to Be Free: Why Should Learn to Love Leaks, Raids and Free-Riding, which will be the focus of our roundtable discussion on Innovation and Human Capital. This roundtable will be moderated by ISP fellow Kiel Brennan-Marquez, who posted an interview with Lobel about her book a few months ago.
And finally, we have two posts from participants in our roundtable on Privacy and Innovation. Frank Pasquale suggests that by highly regulating biosurveillance goals such as curing illness (e.g., identifying "obesity clusters") while failing to regulate the de facto punishment of certain groups (e.g., identifying a certain class as worse credit risks), "law may perversely help channel capital into discriminatory ventures and away from socially productive ones." He argues that rather than deregulating all of it, we should recognize that "all data is health data" and should be subject to updated anti-discrimination and privacy laws. And Tal Zarsky describes his paper on The Privacy/Innovation Conundrum, which argues against overly strict privacy protections that could stall internet-related innovations.
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