As scholars who write in intellectual property (“IP”), we write this letter with aspirations of reaching the highest ethical norms possible for our field. In particular, we have noted an influx of large contributions from corporate and private actors who have an economic stake in ongoing policy debates in the field. Some dollars come with strings attached, such as the ability to see or approve academic work prior to publication or limitations on the release of data. IP scholars who are also engaged in practice or advocacy must struggle to keep their academic and advocacy roles separate.
Our goal is to bring attention to the dramatic changes that are occurring in the field, highlight the potential pitfalls, and suggest a set of ethical norms to which we will strive to adhere. We conclude this letter with a set of ethical norms to which a large number of IP academics have already subscribed. We welcome additional signatories to the principles expressed in this letter.