Intellectual Property Scholars Conference Spanned the Spectrum of Topics – Conference Summary and Videos Now Available

By TAP Guest Blogger

Posted on September 20, 2010


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The tenth annual Intellectual Property Scholars Conference (IPSC) was held on the UC Berkeley campus on August 12th and 13th.  IPSC began as a small group of IP scholars discussing their works-in-progress at Depaul Law School. Since that initial meeting, interest in the conference has grown exponentially. This year’s conference featured an unprecedented number of discussants: over 130 scholars spanning the intellectual property spectrum presented their work for feedback from other scholars. The conference is co-sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, Berkeley Law School; the Intellectual Property Program, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University; the Center for Intellectual Property Law and Information Technology, DePaul University College of Law; and the Stanford Program in Law, Science & Technology, Stanford Law School.


The conference opened with a plenary panel. Professor William McGeveran of the University of Minnesota Law School presented his paper entitled Impersonation. Professor McGeveran examined the law’s current response to instances of digital impersonation. Using examples of twitter users impersonating well-known persons such as Tony LaRussa and Christopher Walken, Professor McGeveran examined which legal remedies were best suited for dealing with the harms that may arise from technological impersonation. To conclude, Professor McGeveran suggested that impersonated individuals could partially reduce the injury from impersonation via non-legal means.

Video of presentation.


Following Professor McGeveran’s remarks, UC Davis Professor Madhavi Sundar presented on participatory culture in IP. Professor Sundar argued that intellectual property law can and should promote democratic participation in the shaping of culture. Professor Sundar suggested that the law can play a role in ensuring access to cultural objects as well as enabling citizens to create and share cultural objects with one another.

Video of presentation.


Professor Adam Mosoff concluded the first plenary session by delving into the famous, foundational patent case of O’Rielly v. Morse. Professor Mosoff examined the case from a historical perspective, concluding that many of the key aspects of the case that shape the law to this day are better understood in light of the changes that have occurred in patent law since the case was decided. Professor Mosoff also stressed that the historical context in which the case arose should color our view of the modern value of the case.

Video of presentation.


The real intellectual treat of the conference occurred on the first day when UC Berkeley Professor Pamela Samuelson led a roundtable discussion with three luminary figures from the IP field: Professor Robert Merges of UC Berkeley School of Law, Professor Paul Goldstein of Stanford Law School, and Professor Tom McCarthy of the University of San Francisco School of Law. They discussed the ways in which IP law has changed in the past twenty years as well as the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead for scholars and practitioners.

Video of panel.


The final plenary panel of the conference capped an engaging two days of scholarly discussion.  Professor Christopher Sprigman of the University of Virginia and Professor Christopher Buccafusco of the Chicago-Kent School of Law presented their paper on the creativity effect. Professors Sprigman and Buccafucso’s paper examined the pricing inefficiencies that may result when artists negotiate to sell the rights to their works. The authors found that artists in their study over-valued the value of their rights by over 700% on average when compared to what economic theory would predict. They viewed their results as challenging the traditional notions about the proper mix of property and liability entitlements in intellectual property.

Video of presentation.
 

Professor Orly Lobel presented next. Her paper, entitled Employment IP and Innovation examined the impact that non-compete agreements in employment contracts have on the promotion of innovation. In her presentation, Professor Lobel argued that under certain conditions, non-compete agreements reduce overall investment. This work builds on and contributes to Professor Lobel’s earlier work examining employment intellectual property and innovation.

Video of presentation.


The final conference speaker, Jorge Contreras of the Washington University School of Law, spoke on latency and the scientific commons. Applying latency analysis to the human genome project and NIH open access publishing requirements, Professor Contreras confronted the problem of balancing the publication interests of data users and data gatherers. Ultimately, he concluded that latency variables in commons policy design can facilitate the creation of socially valuable scientific commons.

Video of presentation.


Additionally, audio recordings are available for many of the presentations on the Audio & Video page of the conference site.


Conference summary provided by Jonas Anderson, Microsoft Research Fellow, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology at Berkeley Law School.


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