Annual Nies Lecture in Intellectual Property

Annual Nies Lecture in Intellectual Property
04/16/2015 - 16:30
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Annual Nies Lecture in Intellectual Property
Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 4:30pm
Location: Eckstein Hall
Access: RSVP Required
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Thursday, April 16
4:30 pm
Ray and Kay Eckstein Hall
Parking is available on site

1 CLE credit

Presented by Henry E. Smith, Fessenden Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

Semicommons in Fluid Resources

In order to capture the benefits of property, resources must be individuated into legal "things" to some extent. The degree of separation into things can be analyzed in terms of both benefits and costs. On the benefit side, non-rigid separation allows for multiple use, and it saves on delineation costs. On the cost side, incomplete separation leads to the possibility of externalities and strategic behavior. Certain resources, which can be termed "fluid," show high benefits of multiple use and high delineation cost. Fluid resources include water and intellectual property. As a result, complex institutions mixing exclusion and governance, including structures of semicommon rights, often grow up around fluid resources. This lecture will address how, in such a semicommons, the indirectness of exclusion rights, extensive governance regimes, and group institutions all help overcome the tradeoff between partial separation and strategic behavior.

Henry E. Smith is the Fessenden Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where he directs the Project on the Foundations of Private Law. He previously was the Fred A. Johnston Professor of Property and Environmental Law at Yale Law School and also taught at Northwestern University School of Law. His books include The Oxford Introductions to U.S. Law: Property (2010) and Property: Principles and Policies (2d ed. 2012), both coauthored with Thomas W. Merrill, and Principles of Patent Law (6th ed., 2013), with F. Scott Kieff et al. Smith holds an A.B. from Harvard, a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Stanford, and a J.D. from Yale.

This annual lecture remembers the Honorable Helen Wilson Nies, who served as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit from 1982 until 1996 (chief judge 1990 –1994).

Questions? Carol Dufek, Events Coordinator,, 414.288.6452.


Eckstein Hall
1215 W. Michigan St., Milwaukee, WI 53233