Could Java Change Everything? The Competitive Propriety of a Proprietary Standard

52 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 1998  

Mark A. Lemley

Stanford Law School

David McGowan

University of San Diego School of Law

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Abstract

The Internet software market is characterized by strong network effects and omnipresent intellectual property rights. In this paper, we attempt to explore the relationship between the two, focusing on two examples: the government's antitrust proceeding against Microsoft for browser tying, and Sun's suit against Microsoft for altering Java. We conclude that the social value of the Internet lies in its ability to facilitate interoperation, and this in turn argues in favor of open access to network standards. Such open standards may be achieved in the open market. Where they are not, the law may intervene, but it must be cautious not to overreach and to avoid disturbing the incentives provided by intellectual property protection.

Suggested Citation

Lemley, Mark A. and McGowan, David, Could Java Change Everything? The Competitive Propriety of a Proprietary Standard. Antitrust Bulletin, Vol. 43, p. 715, 1998. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=57515 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.57515

Mark A. Lemley (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

David McGowan

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

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