The Compatibility of Patent Law and the Internet

15 Pages Posted: 6 May 2010 Last revised: 14 May 2014

See all articles by Jeanne C. Fromer

Jeanne C. Fromer

New York University School of Law

Date Written: May 5, 2010


Much ink has been spilled and many bits have been used discussing what the Internet’s architecture and values ought to mean for the future of copyright law. And though much has been written about the patentability of software, how, if at all, patent law and the Internet’s values are compatible is undertheorized. Through the lens of recent books by Jonathan Zittrain, The Future of the Internet - And How To Stop It, and David Post, In Search of Jefferson’s Moose: Notes on the State of Cyberspace, I explore this issue for a symposium on these books. Although a central value of the Internet is inclusiveness and the patent right is directed to exclusivity, I suggest that if tailored appropriately, patent law can be supportive of the Internet’s core values.

Keywords: patent, Internet, Zittrain, Post, exclusivity, inclusiveness, generativity, Thomas Jefferson, Bilski

JEL Classification: O31, O34

Suggested Citation

Fromer, Jeanne C., The Compatibility of Patent Law and the Internet (May 5, 2010). Fordham Law Review, Vol. 78, p. 2783, 2010, Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1600864, Available at SSRN:

Jeanne C. Fromer (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
United States

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