IP and the Supreme Court

Over the last few years, the Supreme Court has become involved with IP as never before.  In patent law it has rendered five major decisions: Festo (doctrine of equivalents), MedImmune (declaratory judgments), eBay (injunctive remedies), KSR (obviousness), and Quanta Electronics (first-sale).  The Court has been less active in copyright but still has decided Tasini (articles in databases), Eldred (copyright term extension), Grokster (inducing infringement) and this Term Muchnick (copyright registration). Even in relatively stable trademark law the Court has decided Traffix (trade dress and patents), Wal-Mart (distinctiveness of trade dress), Victoria’s Secret (dilution), and Dastar (trademark protection for creative content). This Term a patent case remains to be decided: Bilski on software and business-method patents.

Our topic this year will address all these cases together, with an eye toward the Supreme Court’s overall impact on IP.  Although we will accept papers on isolated cases, we encourage participants to spread their wings further and look for deeper meaning in the Court’s unusual activity.  What types of cases are these?  Can we characterize or categorize them, or most of them, in any useful way?  Why has the Supreme Court gotten noticeably more involved in IP in the past decade or two?  Has Congress and/or the Executive Branch failed to perform its proper function in IP?  Can we discern any common substantive or remedial themes in the Court’s intervention?  Has that intervention been good for industry and the economy?  These broad questions should make for lively and intriguing discussion.

Jay Dratler, Jr.
Organizer: Jay Dratler, Jr.
Goodyear Professor
[of Intellectual Property], Emeritus

Jeffery M. Samuels
Director: Jeffrey M. Samuels
Director, Center for Intellectual Property Law and Technology,
and David L. Brennan
Professor of Law

A. Samuel Oddi
Advisor: A. Samuel Oddi
Giles Sutherland Rich
Professor of Intellectual Property

Ryan Vacca
Ryan Vacca
Assistant Professor of Law

Important Deadline

Papers Due: Monday, October 18, 2010
Length: 10-15 pages, plus light footnotes.
E-Mail to: sfauppe@uakron.edu (Shannon Aupperle)


* Schedule, November 4-5, 2010*

Thursday, November 4 7:00 p.m. Convene in Law School Foyer for Reception and Dinner
Friday, November 5 8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast in Law School Foyer
  9:00 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks
  9:15 a.m. Reasons for the Supreme Courts Intervention in IP
  10:30 a.m. Coffee Break
  10:45 a.m. The Supreme Court and Patents: What is the Message?
  12:00 noon Lunch at Law School and Brief Tour of Campus
  2:00 p.m. The Supreme Court and Copyrights: Cruising without Congress?
  3:00 p.m. The Supreme Court and Trademarks: Minor Corrections?
  4:15 p.m. Coffee Break
  4:30 p.m. The High Court and the Federal Circuit: Proper Division of Labor?
  5:45 Concluding Remarks and Farewell
Sat. & Sun., November 6 & 7 TBA Optional Social and Cultural Activities in Northeast Ohio
* Topics and their sequence are tentative; participants’ short papers will inform final schedule.*

Vital Information


Main Contact Person: Shannon Aupperle, IP Administrative Assistant
(330) 972-7988 sfauppe@uakron.edu

Driving Directions to Campus

(No need to rent a car if you fly; students can provide shuttle service.
Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) is most convenient,
but Cleveland Hopkins (CLE) is accessible.)

Campus Map

Suggested Hotel: Quaker Square Inn at the University of Akron
(easy walk from Law School)
135 South Broadway, Akron, OH 44308, (330) 253-5970

Back to Top