Monday, January 21, 2013

Current Issues: Week 1 - Introduction to International IP

This is not legal advice. Leave audio feedback at (512) 686-6329.

Welcome to Doug's section of the Spring 2013 Lawcast! Today I want to give you some perspective on how the semester will go and very briefly discuss what we covered last week in class.

Some of the class topics I've decided for the time-being are probably not topics best suited for this blog. If people want particular topics, please let me know and I'll make sure and include them.

In-class topics for the rest of the semester include:
Week 2: Copyright: Access to Knowledge
Week 3: Patent: Access to Marine Energy Resources
Week 4: ICANN
Week 5: Product Development PPPs
Week 6: Foreign Rights Holders
Week 7: Trademark: Access to Grey Market Goods
Week 8: Traditional Knowledge
Week 9: Agricultural, Biotech and Genetic Resources
Week 11: Trademark: GIs and Development
Week 12: Patent: Access to Medicines
Week 13: Review and finish up papers

It seems we'll always get a chance to ask the speakers a question, so if any topics interest you, make sure you tell me what questions you'd like me to ask. Again, the patent stuff I am not going to write about here and probably not at Open Source Playground either because it's not going to be software related.

This week met with Professor Daniel Gervais of Vanderbilt University to discuss an introduction to international IP. International law is a weird beast. We generally think of governments imposing laws on its citizenry (or someone that is less jaded might think citizens voice their social norms through laws in a less). If you murder someone, the case in the US will be named State vs. Individual, The People vs. Individual or something of that nature. However, in the international context only states are involved. The US can bring an action against China (or visa versa), but an individual has no recourse to the WTO or WIPO. (There are other international organizations, such as the WHO, but WTO and WIPO are the two big ones in IP.)

This is not to say that cross-border litigation does not occur. It certainly does. However, aside from the broadest norms of allowing foreign nationals to bring suit, the suits are going to be apply local or national law. This is a simplistic view of things, particularly when it comes to things such as maritime law or the CISG, but for present purposes it will probably serve us well-enough. Unfortunately, without getting into the gory details, I think that is about as far as we can go. I think this framework will serve us well going through the rest of the semester.

Lastly, I wanted to give everyone a heads up that Brian has told me that he has been working on finishing up the posts from last semester and that he'll be bringing you articles about copyright and trademark registration this semester. Now that the Colts are out of the playoffs, he'll have a lot more free time! As a Baltimorian, I am supposed to hate the Colts, but mostly I hate the NFL! :)

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