Facebook IPO Belies Perils of Collegiate Inventors
Brian J. Love
Santa Clara University School of Law
May 16, 2012
Op-Ed, The Boston Globe, May 16, 2012
This week’s Facebook IPO, already the gravy train for an army of lawyers and bankers, will reportedly transform a thousand Facebook employees into overnight millionaires. In all likelihood, few of these soon-to-be tycoons realize they owe a great deal of thanks to Harvard University for their newfound wealth.
What did Harvard do? Nothing. Rather, it’s something the school didn’t do: claim Facebook for itself.
You see, Harvard University could have asserted a stronger claim to the company than the Winklevoss twins and Paul Ceglia combined. In 2004 Mark Zuckerberg and friends started Facebook while enrolled in Harvard, working in a Harvard dormitory, and using Harvard’s computer network. Simply by using university resources, Facebook’s founders opened the door for school officials to later assert ownership of the website’s core technology . . . .
Number of Pages in PDF File: 4
Keywords: student inventors, university technology transfer, university TTLO, university TTO, university patent, Facebook, Facebook IPO, Harvard, Netscape, University of Illinois
JEL Classification: I22, K00, O34Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 16, 2012 ; Last revised: May 28, 2012
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