In the Spotlight


The Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP) at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, invites you to an online music law conference.

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New CPIP Policy Brief: The Long Shadow of the Blackberry Shutdown That Wasn’t

On July 28, 2020, CPIP published a new policy brief by CPIP Senior Fellow for Innovation Policy Jonathan Barnett entitled The Long Shadow of the Blackberry Shutdown That Wasn’t. The policy brief looks at how the Blackberry litigation and the “patent troll” narrative ultimately contributed to the Supreme Court’s 2006 decision in eBay v. MercExchange that limited the availability of injunctive relief for successful patentees.

Professor Barnett then examines the problematic legacy of the post-eBay case law, which significantly shifted the legal infrastructure supporting the U.S. innovation markets. In particular, he explains how this shift has led to opportunistic infringement that favors downstream incumbents with the resources to fund extensive litigation at the expense of upstream innovators—a dynamic that is exemplified in the recent litigation between Sonos and Google.

To read the policy brief, please click here.


2020 WIPO-CPIP Summer School on Intellectual Property

On June 8-19, 2020, CPIP again partnered with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to host the third iteration of the WIPO-CPIP Summer School on Intellectual Property.

This exclusive, two-week summer course was held online from Arlington, Virginia—just minutes from Washington, D.C., one of the world’s key centers of IP law and policymaking. The course provided a unique opportunity for students, professionals, and government officials to work with leading experts to gain a deeper knowledge of IP to advance their careers.

The course consisted of lectures, case studies, simulation exercises, group discussions, and panel discussions on selected IP topics, with an orientation towards the interface between IP and other disciplines. A certificate of participation was awarded to participants who successfully complete the course requirements.

To visit our Summer School webpage, please click here.


IP Scholars File Comments with OSTP on Public Access to Scholarly Publications

On May 6, 2020, a group of intellectual property scholars filed comments with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), asking it to forgo its plans to make all federally-funded scholarly publications free and open to the public upon initial publication. The comments were submitted in response to a notice of Request for Information (RFI) that was published in the Federal Register seeking recommendations “on approaches for ensuring broad public access to the peer-reviewed scholarly publications, data, and code that result from federally funded scientific research.”

While the RFI did not specifically mention intellectual property rights, it is clear that any proposal to provide free access to federally-funded scholarly publications would have significant ramifications for the copyright owners of those works. The comments argue that any such plan to further lessen the exclusive rights of these owners should be rejected as it “ignores and destroys the resource-intensive review, translation, and commercialization processes required to produce and disseminate these manuscripts” and “confuses the so-called public domain with the public sphere or market.”

To read the comments, please click here.


CPIP Welcomes Joshua Kresh as Deputy Director

CPIP is proud to welcome Joshua Kresh to our leadership team! As Deputy Director, Joshua will report to CPIP Executive Director Sean O’Connor while managing and participating in CPIP’s day-to-day operations. Joshua will oversee CPIP’s academic research, policy, and fundraising efforts, working as well on planning and executing CPIP events such as conferences, meetings, fellowships, and roundtables. Joshua will also consult with Professor O’Connor and the other faculty directors to develop CPIP’s long-term academic and policy plans.

“We are thrilled that Joshua is joining us as we expand CPIP further into innovation and international policy. Joshua’s extensive background in IP, as well as in computer science and bioinformatics, position him ideally to strengthen our tech and patent research,” said Professor O’Connor. “We also expect to leverage his policy and outreach work with AIPLA and the Giles Rich American Inn of Court to connect with the new generation of IP lawyers,” he continued.

Before joining CPIP as Deputy Director, Joshua was an Associate with DLA Piper in Washington, D.C., where he practiced patent litigation. He received his law degree with honors from The George Washington University Law School, and he holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in computer science from Brandeis University. Joshua is the Chair of AIPLA’s New Lawyers Committee and Co-Mentoring Chair of the Giles Rich American Inn of Court, and he is a registered patent attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He previously served on the Intellectual Property Committee for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims Advisory Council.

To read our announcement, please click here.


New CPIP Policy Brief: Jonathan Barnett on the End of Patent Groupthink

In a new CPIP policy brief entitled The End of Patent Groupthink, CPIP Senior Fellow for Innovation Policy Jonathan Barnett highlights some cracks that have emerged in the recent policy consensus that the U.S. patent system is “broken” and it is necessary to “fix” it.

Policymakers have long operated on the basis of mostly unquestioned assumptions about the supposed explosion of low quality patents and the concomitant patent litigation that purportedly threaten the foundation of the innovation ecosystem. These assumptions have led to real-world policy actions that have weakened patent rights. But as Prof. Barnett discusses in the policy brief, that “groupthink” is now eroding as empirical evidence shows that the rhetoric doesn’t quite match up to the reality. This has translated into incremental but significant movements away from the patent-skeptical trajectory that has prevailed at the Supreme Court, the USPTO, and the federal antitrust agencies.

To read the policy brief, please click here.


CPIP’s Sandra Aistars Files Amicus Brief with Supreme Court in Google v. Oracle

On February 19, 2020, CPIP Director of Copyright Research and Policy Sandra Aistars filed an amicus brief in the Google v. Oracle case that is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief was joined by eight other copyright scholars, including Stephen Carlisle, Jon Garon, Hugh Hansen, Devlin Hartline, Adam Mossoff, Chris Newman, Sean O’Connor, and Mark Schultz.

The brief argues: “Google’s position is not only contrary to the statute—it would actively discourage innovation by original authors with knowledge that their work can be exploited without due compensation. It also would discourage intermediary business models built around generating, promoting, monetizing, and publishing original works of authorship, e.g., publishing houses. This is not what the Constitution had in mind.”

To read the amicus brief, please click here.


CPIP Scholars Testify Before Senate IP Subcommittee at DMCA Hearing

On February 11, 2020, CPIP Director of Copyright Research and Policy Sandra Aistars and CPIP Senior Scholar Mark Schultz testified before Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property about the problems with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The hearing, entitled The Digital Millennium Copyright Act at 22: What Is It, Why Was it Enacted, and Where Are We Now?, is the first of ten such hearings that will evaluate the continued relevance of the DMCA.

The Subcommittee is chaired by Senator Thom Tillis, and he has indicated that the DMCA has not “stood the test of time” and that he intends to “craft new legislation to modernize the DMCA for today’s internet.”

Video from the hearing is available here, and you can download Prof. Aistars’ testimony here and Prof. Schultz’s testimony here. The hearing has been featured in several news articles, including at IPWatchdog, Law360, TorrentFreak, The Verge, and The Buchtelite.


IP Scholars File Comments with U.S. Trade Representative

On January 17, 2020, a group of intellectual property scholars, including Sandra Aistars, Devlin Hartline, Kevin Madigan, Adam Mossoff, Sean O’Connor, and Mark Schultz, filed comments with the U.S. Trade Representative in advance of its hearing to review the generalized system of preferences (GSP) eligibility of several countries.

The GSP program provides for the duty-free importation of designated articles into the U.S., and the U.S. Trade Representative is considering whether South Africa is meeting its eligibility criterion by providing adequate and effective protection of U.S. intellectual property rights. The comments submitted argue that South Africa’s copyright regime fails to adequately protect U.S. copyrighted works, and that proposed changes to its law that would greatly expand fair use and fair dealing would only exacerbate the problem.

To read the comments, please click here.