Digital Possession

August 16, 2023

In his recently published Habilitation thesis, Konrad Duden, former research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, focuses his inquiry on the Internet of Things. In so doing, he examines the extent to which a connected device’s digital use is protected by virtue of that user’s owning or possessing the device.

Providers of such devices can prevent their use by blocking firmware or by cutting off access to the cloud. A provider can in this way turn a high-tech end-user device into electronic waste. The law of contracts will apply in many such cases, but if there is no contract between the user and the supplier of the device, then only the protections of property law remain. Ultimately, the question thus bears upon the significance of property law in an increasingly digital world. The study is available in book form and as an Open Access publication.

Prof. Dr. Konrad Duden, LL.M. (Cambridge), studied chemistry and law at the Universities of Munich, Heidelberg and Bilbao. He was awarded his doctoral degree from the University of Heidelberg in 2015 after having completed his master’s studies at the University of Cambridge. He earned his post-doctoral degree from the University of Hamburg in 2021. Since 2023 he has held the professorial chair for civil law and private international law at the Law Faculty of the University of Leipzig.

Konrad Duden, Digitale Sachherrschaft (Jus Privatum, 271), Universität Hamburg 2021, Mohr Siebeck, Hamburg 2023, Habilitation Thesis, XXIX + 437 pp.

© Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

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