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Assignments

The assignments below are for 6.901, the undergraduate version of the course. Some of the assignments refer to the course textbook, Create or Perish, by Dr. Robert Rines, which is available in its entirety in the readings section.

Problem Set 1

Read Chapters 1 and 2 of Create or Perish.

Problem Set 2

  • Read Chapter 3 of Create or Perish and be prepared to discuss the readings.

  • Use the readings, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution, and your own assesment to determine what exclusive rights means or should mean?

    Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

Problem Set 3

  • Read the following documents for discussion at our next class and to give you ideas for final projects:
  • Use the readings and your own assesment to determine the intellectual property regarding software.
    • Is software an invention?
    • Should it be copyrighted?
    • Should it be patentable?
    • If not, where should it be classified?
    • What are the advantages and drawbacks to each type of protection?
    • Make a convincing argument detailing the reasons for your decision.

Problem Set 4

  • Read Chapter 4 of Create or Perish and read the entire document on a New Patent System: Rines, Robert. "America’s Different Patent System: The Reason The U.S. Outperforms The World, A Report To The 107th Congress." May 9, 2002. (PDF)

  • Recently there has been increased discussion over the rights surrounding copyrights. Use the readings and your own assesment to determine what copyrights confer or should confer upon their holders.

  • Think about questions such as:
    • Why copyrights are relevant versus patents?
    • What should be the lifetime of a copyright?
    • Should different works receive different years of protection?

Problem Set 5

  • Make sure you have read chapters 1-4 of Create or Perish and read the entire document on a New Patent System: Rines, Robert. "America’s Different Patent System: The Reason The U.S. Outperforms The World, A Report To The 107th Congress." May 9, 2002. (PDF)

  • This week's discussion relates to patenting emerging areas of science. Discuss the following topics:
    • Should the U.S. allow patents for genetically modified animals and/or living organisms?
    • Should the U.S. Supreme Court rethink its "anything under the sun" policy regarding patentability?
    • Why? Is it to promote innovation? Or will people still take the risk to develop these new technologies even without the protections afforded by the patent system.

  • Extra Credit: Come to class with a list of four items which you think every United States citizen should be compelled to abide by in order to retain citizenship. (If you believe that there are four items.)

Problem Set 6

  • Writing a Claim: Write a claim for a patent on a basic chair. Try to make the claim cover many possibilities.

  • What are four basic actions every U.S. Citizen should do in order to retain citizenship?

  • Should patents be allowed for genetically modified plants/animals?

  • Should "anything under the sun" be patentable (from last week)?