Global Intellectual Property Law Comes to Campbell

On Friday, March 16, the Campbell Law Review hosted their annual symposium at Campbell Law School.  Entitled, “The New Global Convergence: Intellectual Property, Increasing Prosperity, and Economic Networks in the Twenty-First Century,” the symposium focused on intellectual property in the expanding global legal community through various presentations and panel discussions featuring 13 leading scholars and practitioners from around the country.

“The symposium was a huge success.  We hoped to help members of the legal community identify and discuss intellectual property issues that arise from globalization and I feel strongly that we were able to do that,” said Campbell Law Review Editor-in-Chief Michael Crook.

As practitioners were one of the main target areas for this year’s symposium, Campbell Law Review was able to offer Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit for those attorneys in attendance.  About 65 attorneys registered for the event and they were able to receive six and a half hours of general CLE credit.

Opening remarks were given by Campbell Law Dean Melissa Essary, Crook, and Campbell Law Professor Lucas Osborn.  The morning presentations were given by Professor William Hennessey, University of New Hampshire School of Law; Professor David Levine, Elon University School of Law; Professor Jonathan Ocko, North Carolina State University; and Professor Peter Yu, Drake University School of Law.

Focusing on China, this panel illustrated how the complexity of a growing and developing country’s culture and history impacts intellectual property law.  The panel discussed the issue of when China will begin to enforce intellectual property laws strictly, noting that this turns on China believing that it is in their best interest to do so.  This group of presenters also participated in a panel discussion moderated by Deborah Gerhardt, an assistant professor of law at the University of North Carolina School of Law. During the discussion, the professors asked questions of one another, and those in attendance were also able to ask questions of the professors. 

During lunch, the keynote address was given by Dr. Stuart Graham, the chief economist of the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).  Graham was named the first chief economist of the USPTO in 2010 and leads a team of economists in researching the impact of intellectual property on the economy.  Dr. Graham is on a three- year leave from his teaching position at Georgia Tech where he is an assistant professor in the College of Management.  During his address Dr. Graham discussed his role and duties at the USPTO, including researching the reasons that different people file for patents.

The first afternoon panel focused on patent law and included presentations by Professor Andrew Chin, University of North Carolina School of Law; Professor Tim Holbrook, Emory University School of Law; and Professor Benjamin Liu, The John Marshall Law School.  This panel discussed patent law in China and the United States and included a colloquy about what kinds of inventions should and should not be patentable.  Further, this panel raised the issue to what extent courts in the United States should consider foreign countries’ intellectual property laws given globalization.  These presenters also participated in a panel discussion moderated by Professor Osborn. 

Finally, there was a practitioner panel discussion at the close of the symposium featuring Ken Hammer, General Counsel & Vice President of Corporate Affairs, DataFlux, a SAS company; Maury Tepper, Tepper & Eyster, PLLC; Rob Tiller, Vice President & Assistant General Counsel, Red Hat; Kathy Twiddy, Vice President & Senior Associate General Counsel, Quintiles; and Eric Wolff, Commerical Officer, U.S. Export Assistance Center.  This panel discussion, which focused on managing intellectual portfolios in the current legal environment, was moderated by Tony Biller of Coats and Bennett, PLLC.  The day ended with closing remarks by Crook and a reception in the lobby of the Campbell Law School for all those in attendance.

“The symposium brought together an impressive array of lawyers and scholars who think about the international aspects of intellectual property law on a daily basis.  The discussion was lively and seamlessly covered a broad range of intellectual property topics from the theoretical level down to the daily application,” said Professor Osborn.

The success of this year’s symposium was marked largely by the attendance of the day’s events.  The overall registration for the symposium was just over 100 people.  Roughly 120 people attended the luncheon address given by Dr. Graham and for all other events there were about 80 people present.  In addition to the attorneys registered, the audience included professors and students from Campbell Law School and several other law schools.

Many professors who participated in the symposium also submitted papers to the Campbell Law Review to be published in the symposium edition of the law review.  The symposium edition will also contain two comments written by third year Campbell Law student M. Lee Taft and second year Campbell Law student Drew Shores.  The symposium edition will be published and available in late May of this year.

Overall, the symposium this year created a forum for informative and innovative discussions on an increasingly important area of the law.  “At the end of the day, the symposium was not only a great event for the law review but for the school as well.  I am very proud of the hard work that everyone put into this day and believe that it was extremely successful,” said Devon Williams, Symposium Co-Editor for the Campbell Law Review.