Intellectual Property Rights

The first of  "Law and Technology's" areas of research concerns the need to re-conceptualize certain key notions of the law in a deliberately vague and open manner in order to furnish them with the suppleness and flexibility to apply to hitherto unknown technological developments.

The evolution of the legal understanding of the notion of property and ownership over the last 150 years from a narrow concept of "sole and despotic dominium which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world" to an abstract and open "bundle of legal relations – rights, powers, privileges, and immunities" is a paradigmatic example of the kind of conceptual flexibilization sought for in a general theory of law and technology. Historically, the driving force behind this re-conceptualization was the need for a more abstract notion of "intellectual" property (including patents, copyright, designs and trade marks) in response to newly emerging technologies.

"Law and Technology's" research into "Intellectual Property Rights and Technology" continues this development by trying to anticipate and assess the legal consequences of recent challenges to the notion of intellectual property arising from innovations in cutting-edge telecommunication technology. This part of "Law and Technology" is the result of a collaboration of the Chair of Civil Law, Intellectual Property Law and Competition Law (Professor Leistner, Bonn University) and RWTH Aachen’s excellence cluster UMIC (Ultra High-Speed Mobile Information and Communication) lead by Professor Ascheid.

The subproject "Intellectual Property Rights" comprises two research projects concerning Standard Setting Organizations and the Microsoft-decision of the ECJ.