United States: New blog answers questions that arise when law and technology intersect
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“How it works?”
The question motivates engineers to examine the world and use what they learn to advance technology. But the question is also always a priority for any lawyer, whatever his practice. Each law is a puzzle to understand how it works in theory; each case is a clue as to how the law works in practice. When a law expresses a political choice, we imagine a machine in motion and try to estimate how it will work over time (e.g., “Will the threat of increased prison sentences reduce crime? “).
This main question has added importance where law and technology intersect, as we need to understand how both work to draw correct conclusions. Did the defendant misappropriate a trade secret by accessing this server? The question concerns both what legally counts as a “misappropriation” and a “trade secret” as well as this technically counts as “access”. It is impossible to answer the question until we know how these terms “work”. As a result, engineers who find themselves practicing law are confronted daily with “how does it work?”, whether we’re delving into the law or the inner workings of a client’s product. Discovering the answer to this question is what makes intellectual property such a fascinating field to study and practice.
And this exercise is all the more interesting since the two systems (law and technology) are dynamic – the answer to “how does it work?” changes (sometimes dramatically) over time. It’s clear to everyone that technology is changing rapidly – the phone you traded in three years ago because it wasn’t fast enough had 100,000 times the computer processing power of the 1969 Apollo 11. Intellectual property law is also evolving. Since 2010, Congress has revised patent law as well as created an entirely new federal regime for trade secrets. Also since 2010, the United States Supreme Court has significantly revised the conditions for obtaining a patent and completely reworked the standard for knowing if someone has willfully infringed a patent, among other significant changes. Law and technology are changing rapidly under our feet.
Answer “how does it work?” for law and technology – especially software – as they evolve together, that’s what this blog is about. Our hope is to be able to present the interaction of the two subjects in an informative and entertaining way.
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