Thomas Edison Innovation Fellowship

Now in its sixth iteration, CPIP’s Thomas Edison Innovation Fellowship is a year-long non-resident fellowship program that brings together a group of scholars to develop research papers on patent law and policy. The Edison Fellowship is one of the centerpieces of CPIP’s mission to promote a better academic discussion about intellectual property rights with substantial scholarship produced from rigorous research that examines the moral and economic value of patented innovation.

The Edison Fellowship consists of a series of invitation-only conferences over the course of a year in which Edison Fellows study and discuss a structured curriculum, engage in roundtable discussions with expert senior scholars and industry representatives, and share and collaborate on both their research and early drafts. The Fellowship culminates in the production of substantial academic research papers that are published in law journals or other peer-reviewed academic journals.

Spotlight on Scholarship

Deepak Hegde et al., What Is a Patent Worth? Evidence from the U.S. Patent ‘Lottery’ (USPTO Econ. Working Paper No. 2015-5, Mar. 2017)

CPIP Edison Fellow Deepak Hegde and his co-authors demonstrate–for the first time with causal evidence–how “patent approvals help startups create jobs, grow their sales, innovate, and eventually succeed.” This groundbreaking study was made possible by the authors’ unprecedented access to the USPTO’s internal databases. The authors find that startups that have their first patent applications approved are significantly more likely to succeed. Furthermore, they find that delays in the approval process negatively affect startups’ chances of success.

Christopher Beauchamp, The First Patent Litigation Explosion, 125 Yale L.J. 848 (2016)

CPIP Edison Fellow Chris Beauchamp takes on the myth that there is an unprecedented explosion of patent litigation today: “The twenty-first century ‘patent litigation explosion’ is not unprecedented. In fact, the nineteenth century saw an even bigger surge of patent cases. During that era, the most prolific patent enforcers brought hundreds or even thousands of suits, dwarfing the efforts of today’s leading ‘trolls.’ In 1850, New York City and Philadelphia alone had ten times more patent litigation, per U.S. patent in force, than the entire United States in 2013.”

Ryan T. Holte, Trolls or Great Inventors: Case Studies of Patent Assertion Entities , 59 St. Louis U. L.J. 1 (2014)

One of the more contentious topics in the current patent policy debate concerns the alleged harms caused by patent owners who seek to license their patented innovation, often referred to by the pejorative epithet “patent troll.” The discussions to date have been predominantly theoretical, lacking in sound empirical data regarding the inventors themselves. In this paper, CPIP Edison Fellow Ryan Holte takes a detailed dive into two instructive case studies. By exploring the stories behind these inventors and their patented technologies, Professor Holte adds much-needed context to the ongoing policy debates and shows that the “patent troll” moniker disparages honest innovators.

2019-2020 Thomas Edison Innovation Fellowship

Final Meeting
January 23-24, 2020
Miami, Florida

On January 23-24, 2020, CPIP will host the last meeting of the 2019-2020 Thomas Edison Innovation Fellowship. The Edison Fellows will present final drafts of their research papers and receive valuable feedback from Senior Commentators and other Fellows.

Third Meeting
September 12-13, 2019
Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
Arlington, Virginia

On September 12-13, 2019, CPIP hosted the third meeting of the 2019-2020 Thomas Edison Innovation Fellowship at Scalia Law in Arlington, Virginia. The meeting was a works-in-progress workshop, where the Edison Fellows presented rough drafts of their papers and received valuable feedback from Senior Commentators and other Fellows.

Second Meeting
April 18-19, 2019
Scottsdale, Arizona

On April 18-19, 2019, CPIP will host the second meeting of the 2019-2020 Thomas Edison Innovation Fellowship in Scottsdale, Arizona. At the meeting, the Edison Innovation Fellows will present their research proposals and receive valuable feedback from Senior Commentators and other Fellows.

First Meeting
February 28-March 2, 2019
San Diego, California

On February 28-March 2, 2019, CPIP hosted the first meeting of the 2019-2020 Thomas Edison Innovation Fellowship in Carlsbad, California. The meeting, which focused on research methodologies and developing research ideas, featured several days of academic roundtable discussions, as well as presentations by inventors and other representatives from the innovation industries.

Past Thomas Edison Innovation Fellowships