The Center for Innovation Policy at Duke Law

The Center for Innovation Policy at Duke Law brings together legal professionals, technology and business leaders, government officials, and academic experts to identify improvements to federal law and policy that will promote innovation and economic growth. Focusing on federal policy affecting information, communications, and intellectual property, the Center works from both Duke’s main campuses in Durham, N.C., and the university’s facilities in Washington, D.C.  It has a partnership with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Duke's Fuqua School of Business and is also part of the university-wide Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative funded by Duke alumnus David Rubenstein. In addition to funding from the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, the Center receives funding from Duke Law School.  The Center presents a varied schedule of conferences and other public events which have enjoyed support from various organizations including the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the One Mind for Research Foundation, Google, Qualcomm, Comcast, and AT&T.

About Us



The FCC Spectrum Incentive Auction: Lessons for the Future

Friday, May 12, 2017
Duke University's "Duke in DC" offices
1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 500 | Washington, DC 20004

The FCC concluded the most complex auction in history, the culmination of a decade-long planning process for moving spectrum from broadcast to mobile broadband uses. On May 12, 2017, The Center for Innovation Policy at Duke Law held a half-day conference that identified lessons from this auction for spectrum policy, government disposition of assets (whether of spectrum or other resources), and the future of innovation policy generally. The conference was held at Duke in DC, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC. 

Speakers included: Lawrence Ausubel, Univ. of Maryland, Power Auctions; Jonathan Chaplin, New Street Research; Paul de Sa, Quadra Partners; Gary Epstein, former Chair of Incentive Auction Task Force at FCC; Karla Hoffman, George Mason Univ.; Allan Ingraham, Economists Inc.; Edward Lazarus, Tribune Media; Michael Ostrovsky, Stanford Graduate School of Business; Preston Padden, Boulder ThinkingDavid Quinalty, Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation CommitteeCharla Rath, VerizonDorothy Robyn, former Commissioner at GSA; Gregory Rosston, Stanford Univ.; David Salant, Auction Technologies; Steve Sharkey, T-Mobile; and Ilya Segal, Stanford Univ.

View the Live Stream



The Decline in Corporate Research: Should We Worry?

Friday, March 31, 2017
Duke University's "Duke in DC" offices

Government data and research point to a long decline in US corporate investment in upstream research. How pervasive is this trend across industries, technologies, and firms of different sizes? How does it compare with research spending by the federal government, universities, and companies abroad? Does it reflect less reliance on research, whoever performs it? Is it explained by capital market pressures, global competition, or other factors? Has it contributed to the slowdown in productivity growth? Are there other reasons policymakers should be concerned? If so, what policy levers should they look to—e.g., intellectual property, tax, government R&D spending, or antitrust enforcement?

Speakers included Eduardo Porter, New York Times columnist; Katrine Bosley, Editas Medicine CEO; Bill Raduchel, former AOL CTO; Bill Janeway, Warburg Pincus partner; Eric Toder, Tax Policy Center director; Howard Shelanski, former director OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs; and scholars from Duke, Harvard, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, and Berkeley.

This program was sponsored by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.


View the archived version of the livestream.



Conferences on Patent Quality

Tuesday, December 13, 2016, Alexandria, Virginia, and
Friday, September 9, 2016, Santa Clara, California

The Center for Innovation Policy at Duke Law and the Santa Clara High Tech Law Institute sponsored a pair of joint conferences on patent quality. The conferences were designed to examine the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (PTO) ongoing efforts on patent quality, to assess the progress of these efforts, and to explore next steps in the PTO’s continuing efforts to ensure the highest quality for U.S. patents.

More Information & Final Agendas


Professor Art Rai, Faculty Co-Director of The Center for Innovation Policy at Duke Law, and Professor Colleen Chien, Santa Clara Law & SCU's High Tech Law Institute, have co-authored a wrap-up piece on patent quality at PatentlyO:

Law360 presented a series of opinion pieces related to the two conferences.

  Making 'Compact Prosecution' Truly Compact
   Laura Sheriden, Google [Sept. 28]

  Q&A With GAO Directors: Improving Patent Quality
   Frank Rusco & John Neumann, GAO [Oct. 7]

  Reconsidering Patent Examiner's Time Allocations
   Michael D. Frakes, Duke Law & Melissa F. Wasserman, Texas Law [Oct. 13]

  Getting Practical about Patent Quality
   David J. Kappos, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP [Oct. 21]

  Overclaiming Is Criminal
   Oskar Liivak, Cornell Law [Oct. 28]

  Comparing Patent Quality at the USPTO and EPO
   Colleen Chien, Santa Clara Law & Jay Kesan, University of Illinois College of Law [Nov. 29]

  The Need for Speed: Process and Product Quality in Track 1
   Arti Rai and Elliot Chen, Duke University School of Law [Dec. 6]

  Patent Quality Is Here to Stay
   Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property
          and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
[Dec. 19]


Legal Innovators Showcase

Thursday, September 29, 2016, 5:30-9:00 p.m.
Duke Law School

Part of Duke's Entrepreneurship Week 2016

The program will highlight current innovations in the legal profession and investigate potential new directions in innovation through presentations by companies and thought-provoking Darwin Talks from experts. More information.


Entrepreneurship Education: Developing a Community of Practice

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 and Wednesday, May 4, 2016
By invitation only

The conference included panels of EE program leaders, graduates, venture investors and entrepreneurs, and breakout sessions on pedagogical issues, support systems (incubators, accelerators, finance, and IP rights), and opportunities to develop a more robust evidence base for EE curricula. The program was organized by The Center for Innovation Policy at Duke Law, the Duke-wide Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, and the Fuqua School of Business Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation with support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the National Science Foundation’s Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP) program.

Hashtag: #TeachingEship

More Information and Presentations

View Agenda


A Copyright Office for the 21st Century LogoSpring 2016 Conference

A Copyright Office for the 21st Century
Friday, March 18, 2016




Center Receives Government and Foundation Grants


In December 2015 the Center was successful in securing grants from the National Science Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation for support of the following activities in 2016:

  • Entrepreneurship Education. With NSF and Kauffman Foundation support, the Center and the university-wide Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative will convene faculty and administrators of leading business, law, and other professional schools and undergraduate institutions across the country in a conference to explore the objectives, methods, and evaluation of university entrepreneurship education programs. The meeting will focus on curricula, student recruitment and evaluation, the role of entrepreneurs as teachers and mentors, the importance of related support structures such incubators and investment funds, and opportunities for research on student outcomes. The objective is to develop a community of best practices taking into account the differences among universities and their locales and between undergraduate and professional students’ learning objectives. The meeting will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, May 3-4, on the Duke Campus in Durham.

  • Changes in the Innovation System. In the Fall of 2016, with Kauffman Foundation support, the Center will commence a series of academy-industry conferences on documented changes in the U.S. innovation system. The first conference will focus on the decline in fundamental research investment, both public and private – what are its sources, whether the decline adversely affects the rate and direction of innovation in the economy, whether alternative sources of new technology have emerged, and, if not, what can be done to moderate or reverse the trend. Subsequent conferences will address the tendency of most U.S. firms to outsource much of their acquisition of new technologies and economists’ observation that the formation of new innovative firms dropped off long before the great recession and has not recovered. The Senate Competitiveness Caucus has invited the Center to brief Senators and staff on the results of these meetings.


future01.pngFall 2015 Conference

The Future of Video Competition and Regulation
Friday, October 9, 2015


View the recorded webcast




Summer 2015 Roundtable Discussion

The PTAB’s Post-Grant Review Proceedings: A Review of the Evidence
June 3, 2015

This half-day roundtable presented policy-relevant empirical research on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).  It examined questions such as who is using the PTAB proceedings (both IPRs and CBMs); against whom these proceedings are being brought; grounds for petitions; and how petitions are faring. It also examined strategic choices being made in the choice between district court litigation and the PTAB.

View the recorded webcast


Wire-concept-3a2.pngFall 2014 Conference

Internet Regulation in 2020

October 17, 2014


View the recorded webcast



New Approaches and Incentives in Drug DevelopmentFall 2013 Conference

New Approaches and Incentives in Drug Development

November 22, 2013

View the recorded webcast

View published papers from conference



2016 Annual Report for
The Center for Innovation Policy at Duke Law

The Center for Innovation Policy at Duke Law has released its 2016 Annual Report. Download a copy here.

Announcing founding members of advisory board

Photo of Advisory Board

The Center for Innovation Policy at Duke Law has named 10 founding members to its advisory board, including senior officials from several of the world's largest technology companies. Advisory board members will assist the center in convening roundtables and conferences around cutting-edge subjects in innovation policy.

Read about the advisory board

Duke International Forum 2016
China's Role in the Global Innovation System


Center Executive Director Steve Merrill chaired an intellectual property panel at a May 21-22 conference probing Chinese progress toward an innovation economy. The conference, co-sponsored by The Center for Innovation Policy at Duke Law, was held on the Duke campus in Kunshan, China. Panelists included Xiqing Gao, Tsinghua University Professor of Law and former President of the China Investment Corporation; Yuwen Liu, founding partner BOHE Angel Fund; and Kennett Jarrett, President of the Shanghai American Chamber of Commerce.

More information on the conference