Workshop: Communication of technical knowledge


Typically, invention and innovation are collective endeavors. Many people combine their talent, effort, and knowledge to bring new technologies to the marketplace. Effective invention and innovation requires effective communication of technical knowledge between participants. In practice, this communication happens in various ways and different laws and policies affect how well these channels work. Although some research has separately explored each of these different aspects of communication, it might be helpful to gain a more comprehensive view.


This interdisciplinary workshop explores various channels used to communicate technical knowledge among inventors and innovators, and how law and policy affect such communication. We plan to discuss:

·         when and why technical knowledge is codified or formalized,

·         whether such knowledge is licensed for profit or freely exchanged,

·         the roles of markets for ideas and collective invention, and 

·         the roles played by industry, geography, technological maturity, the internet (and ICT generally), and other factors in speeding or slowing communication. 


We also plan to discuss how the law does and should influence communication channels, and especially whether start-ups have appropriate access to these channels. Topics of interest include: 

·         intellectual property law (trade secrets, patents, and copyright), 

·         employment law (non-competes, non-solicitation, ownership of intellectual property), 

·         antitrust (patent licenses, patent pools, and standard setting organizations), and 

·         corporate and commercial law (as it relates to licensing, high-tech joint ventures, alliances, and start-ups).