Sociology Index -

Intellectual Property and the Internet

IP in software industry, Internet Law or CyberLaw, Books on Intellectual Property and the Internet

Intellectual Property related to Internet, e-commerce and digital enterprise found on the Internet.

Wipo website for SME provides a useful reference source for the relationship between IP, Internet and electronic commerce.

We can find useful information on how a firm should audit its IP assets relevant to e-commerce, how to protect its IP when designing a website, issues related to Internet domain names and distribution of content on the Internet, the patent issues in e-commerce, IP concerns related to e-commerce international transactions.

Simensky et al. (1999). It contains 62 chapters (too many to review here). The first part presents the role of IP in on-line commerce. The second treats accounting, finance and valuation. The third part deals with protection of IP, followed by the commercial exploitation of IP. The last 33 chapters cover the international aspects of the securitization of IP in so many countries (Boer, 1999).

Web “crash course” provided by the University of Texas (2003).

The “digital professor” website created by Professor Michael Rappa provides course material on managing the digital enterprise that includes several sections and references on IP-related issues (Digital professor, 2003).

The report by the Committee on Intellectual Property Rights and the Emerging Information Infrastructure of the National Research Council, The Digital Dilemma, Intellectual Property in the Information Age (2000) recognized that given the multitude of possible IP business models, legal mechanisms and technical protection services, a one-size-fits-all solution to the dilemma would be too rigid.

E-Commerce often involves selling products and services that are based on IP and its licensing. Music, pictures, photos, software, designs, training modules, systems, etc. can all be traded through E-Commerce, in which case, IP is the main component of value in the transaction. IP is important because the things of value that are traded on the Internet must be protected, using technological security systems and IP laws, or else they can be stolen or pirated and whole businesses can be destroyed.

IP makes E-Commerce work. The systems that allow the Internet to function - software, networks, designs, chips, routers and switches, the user interface, and so on - are forms of IP and often protected by IP rights. Trademarks are an essential part of E-Commerce business, as branding, customer recognition and good will, essential elements of Web-based business, are protected by trademarks and unfair competition law.

E-Commerce businesses and Internet related businesses are based on product or patent licensing. This is because so many different technologies are required to create a product that companies often outsource the development of some component of products, or share technologies through licensing arrangements. If every company had to develop and produce all technological aspects of every product independently, development of high technology products would be impossible. The economics of E-Commerce depends on companies working together to share, through licensing, the opportunities and risks of business. Many of these companies are SMEs.

E-Commerce based businesses usually hold a great deal of their value in IP; so the valuation of your E-Commerce business will be affected by whether you have protected your IP. Many E-Commerce companies, like other technology companies, have patent portfolios and trademarks that enhance the value of their business.