Maps of Intellectual Property

William Fisher

version 6.0

last updated: October 18, 2016

This page provides access to the mindmaps I employ in conjunction with my courses on intellectual property law.

The principal sets of legal rules are summarized in the following four maps:

The main theories, used by scholars to justify, criticize, or suggest modifications of those sets of legal rules, are summarized in the following map:

Finally, an approach to strategic management of intellectual-property rights -- developed in collaboration with Prof. Felix Oberholze-Gee of Harvard Business School -- is embodied in the following map:

How to use one of these maps:

The maps and all of the collateral slide presentations are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike 2.5 License, the terms of which are available here.

Caution: These maps do not aspire to be treatises; they are not comprehensive, and some of the interpretations they offer of current legal doctrine are controversial. Rather, they are designed to be used as teaching aids. To that end, they attempt to describe and organize the main rules and arguments in each field, paying particular attention to significant recent developments and to especially controversial or unstable issues.

If you make use of these materials and find flaws in them -- errors that need to be corrected, gaps that need to be filled, or references to rules that have been superseded -- I would be grateful if you would let me know. It's best to send me such suggestions via email at Please use the words "IP Maps" in the subject line.