• Archive for September, 2013

    SCIPR 2013 Review, Part 1

    by  • September 30, 2013 • Faculty Workshops/ Conferences • 0 Comments

    On Thursday, September 26, IIT Chicago-Kent hosted the 2013 Supreme Court IP Review (SCIPR), a conference highlighting intellectual property cases from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 Term and previewing significant IP cases in the upcoming 2013 Term. Chicago-Kent faculty members Christi Guerrini, David Schwartz, Chris Buccafusco, Ed Lee, and Carolyn Shapiro participated in panels at the conference. Visit the conference home page for the full agenda, panelist biographies, and audio transcripts of the featured Supreme Court cases. Read Part 2 of the conference review here and Part 3 here.

    The following summary outlines the first three panels of the conference. Additional case backgrounds provided by Oyez.

    Gunn v. Minton

    Chicago-Kent IP Fellow Christi Guerrini moderated this panel on a case regarding whether federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving patent law, even when a patent issue is not the primary issue—which in this instance was a claim of legal malpractice. The Supreme Court decided against elevating patent malpractice claims to the federal level, recognizing the authority of state courts to decide state law claims with embedded patent issues. Panelists Jane Webre (counsel to Gunn) and Ronald Mallen (amicus curiae) drew out the implications of the decision; in particular, Webre noted that more patent-related claims will likely remain at the state rather than federal court level and that this had in fact been standard practice prior to a 1988 decision that broadly expanded Federal Circuit jurisdiction (Christianson v. Colt Indus.). Both panelists agreed that this decision is unlikely to tamper with federal jurisprudence on patent issues. (more…)

    Papa’s Charity Gets a Brand New Trustee

    by  • September 26, 2013 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    brody_evelyn thumbBy Evelyn Brody

    The estate of the Godfather of Soul—which could be worth up to $100 million—continues to need judicial supervision. In May 2013, the South Carolina Supreme Court tossed a settlement between the attorney general and the late singer James Brown’s family. As the court explained, the settlement shifted about half of Brown’s estate from a newly created charity—the “I Feel Good” Trust—to his adult children and claimed widow. The settlement also granted the attorney general authority to determine the charity’s governance structure. The trustees ousted by the settlement appealed the decision. With the matter back on remand, the lower court is pondering applications to replace the AG-appointed trustee (see Sue Sommer, Current Trustee in James Brown Estate Refuses Mandate to Serve with Other Trustees).

    According to one observer, James “Brown’s estate plan established what may be the largest-ever private charity for educating needy students in South Carolina and Georgia” (Sue Sommer, SC Supreme Court Ends Historic Battle Over James Brown Estate).

    Because charities lack definite beneficiaries who can sue to enforce their rights, the common law has long assigned to the attorney general the task of protecting charitable assets and donor intent. But charitable assets are not state assets, nor is the AG a super-trustee. Describing the AG role in charity supervision, the Court declared:

    The AG undoubtedly has the authority to intervene to protect the public interest of a charitable trust. However, the AG has no authority to become completely entrenched in an action that began here as one to set aside a will and for statutory shares, direct the settlement negotiations, and then fashion a settlement that discards Brown’s will and his 2000 Irrevocable Trust and replaces them with new trusts, only to give himself sole authority to select the managing trustee. By so doing, the AG has effectively obtained control over the bulk of Brown’s assets and has given his office unprecedented authority to oversee the affairs of the parties that has not heretofor been recognized in our jurisprudence.

    Chief Justice Toal concluded her blistering concurrence with the following quote from my article, Whose Public?: Parochialism and Paternalism in State Charity Law Enforcement, 79 Ind. L.J. 937, 1034 (2004):

    Where discretion is conferred on a charity’s board, proper state enforcement action over fiduciary decision making reduces to a single rule: The role of the attorney general and courts is to guard against charity fiduciaries’ wrongdoing, and not to interfere in decision making carried out in good faith. . . . To this end, an attorney general is vested with the authority to seek to correct breaches of fiduciary duty that have not otherwise been remedied by the board. However, the attorney general is not a “super” member of the board.

    How gratifying that my work helped protect James Brown’s important philanthropy!

    Buccafusco Scholarship Draws Attention

    by  • September 25, 2013 • Scholarship • 0 Comments

    Over the last few years, some scholars have become increasingly skeptical of the traditional ways in which experts have thought about copyright law. According to blogger Mike Masnick, the standard faith-based principle among policy makers—that “if some intellectual property is good, more must be better”—has held sway for a long time, without being questioned or tested. But recent empirical research done by Professor Chris Buccafusco—and others, including his colleagues Chris Sprigman and Paul Heald—suggests that more “one-size-fits-all” copyright protection might not always be better for innovation. By putting IP to the test, Buccafusco and others seek to revisit some of the traditional assumptions about copyright law, providing fresh analysis and possible reform.

    A recent Columbia Journalism Review article highlighted Buccafusco’s approach and scholarship, noting that his findings suggest “that markets for creative work are not nearly as efficient as IP law assumes.” Click here to read the whole article, and be sure to check out some of Prof. Buccafusco’s empirical scholarship below.

    See more of Prof. Buccafusco’s IP scholarship:

    – Innovation and Incarceration: An Economic Analysis of Criminal Intellectual Property Law, Southern California Law Review (forthcoming 2014) (with Jonathan Masur)

    – What’s a Name Worth?: Experimental Tests of the Value of Attribution in Intellectual Property, 93 Boston University Law Review 1 (2013) (with Chris Sprigman and Zachary Burns)

    – Making Sense of Intellectual Property Law, 97 Cornell Law Review 501 (2012)

    – Do Bad Things Happen When Works Enter the Public Domain?: Empirical Tests of Copyright Term Extension, Berkeley Technology Law Journal (2012) (with Paul Heald)

    – The Creativity Effect, 78 University of Chicago Law Review 31 (2011) (with Chris Sprigman)

    – Valuing Intellectual Property: An Experiment, 96 Cornell Law Review 1 (2010) (with Chris Sprigman)

    – On the Legal Consequences of Sauces: Should Thomas Keller’s Recipes Be Per Se Copyrightable?, 24 Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal 1121 (2007 )

    Join the Law Professor Blogs Network

    by  • September 20, 2013 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    The Law Professor Blogs Network, an influential group of legal blogs edited by law professors, has recently undergone a major redesign and is now seeking to expand its resources. The following announcement was originally posted on TaxProf Blog:

    “The Network owns and operates over forty legal blogs, edited by leading scholars and educators who are committed to providing the web destination for law professors, practitioners in private practice, government, business and nonprofit organizations, legal information professionals, and students in their respective fields. Since the launch of TaxProf Blog on April 15, 2004, the Network’s influence has continued to grow, with roughly ten million annual page views in recent years. . . .

    With the support of our sponsor Wolters Kluwer Law & Business/Aspen Publishers and our other advertising partners, the Network is seeking to expand by (1) recruiting law professors to launch blogs in other areas of the law school curriculum not currently covered by the Network; and (2) affiliating with existing blogs edited by law professors. For more information about joining the Network, including technical support and editor financial compensation, please contact Paul Caron at LawProfNetwork@gmail.com.”

    Click here to read more and to become a part of the Network.

    Weekly Faculty in the News, 9/19

    by  • September 19, 2013 • Faculty in the News • 0 Comments

    A roundup of faculty appearances in news sources and media from the last week.

    9/13 – The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin highlighted the upcoming Futures Conference at Chicago-Kent in a short piece (“In the law schools,” behind subscription paywall). The conference, presented by the College of Law Practice Management (COLPM), will be held October 4-5. In addition to a keynote address by Stephen Mayson—Director of the Legal Services Institute in the UK—and 3 TED talks, the conference will feature a special panel on the A2J Clinic Project, moderated by Professor and current COLPM president Ron Staudt, titled “Justice, Lawyering and Legal Education in the Digital Age.” Click here for the conference brochure or here to register.

    9/16 – Professor Ed Lee’s new e-book, The Fight for the Future: How People Defeated Hollywood and Saved the Internet—For Now, was published on Amazon. Prof. Lee’s book captures the stories of many people who participated in the protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and examines the grassroots movement that was able to defeat money, politicians, Hollywood, and a copyright lobby, all in the name of a “free and open Internet.” And don’t miss the chance to hear Prof. Lee discuss his new book at an event during Social Media Week Chicago on September 25. Click here for more details.

    9/18 – Chicago-Kent launched its Fall 2013 Documentary Film Series on Race with a showing of The Central Park 5 (2012), a film which examines the 1989 assault and rape of Trisha Meili (also known as the “Central Park Jogger”), racism, and the legal system. The series, organized by Professor Bernadette Atuahene, is co-sponsored by Chicago-Kent’s Diversity Committee and the school’s organizations of students of color. Other films in the series include A Class Divided (1985), to be shown on October 17, and Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story (2007), to be shown on November 13. Moderated discussions will take place at the end of each program, which are free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

    Other news:

    9/16 – Professor Sheldon Nahmod authored a new post at his blog, Nahmod Law, titled “New University Academic Freedom Decision from Ninth Circuit: Demers v. Austin.” The post analyzes a recent decision which emphasized the First Amendment protection of a college or university professor’s teaching and scholarship.

    9/18 – Over at The Walters Way, Professor Adrian Walters posted “Lemons,” a short piece on author Richard Hermann and his new book of advice for entry-level attorneys, From Lemons to Lemonade in the new Legal Job Market.

    New Constitution App from Library of Congress

    by  • September 18, 2013 • Multimedia • 0 Comments

    [The following news release is reposted from the Library of Congress]

    Con AppThe Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office (GPO) mark Constitution Day [Sept. 17] by launching a new app and web publication that make analysis and interpretation of constitutional case law by Library experts accessible for free to anyone with a computer or mobile device.

    The new resources, which include analysis of Supreme Court cases through June 26, 2013, will be updated multiple times each year as new court decisions are issued. Legal professionals, teachers, students and anyone researching the constitutional implications of a particular topic can easily locate constitutional amendments, federal and state laws that were held unconstitutional, and tables of recent cases with corresponding topics and constitutional implications.

    Release of the new resources coincides with the 100th anniversary edition of a printed document, “The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation”, which was published at the direction of the U.S. Senate for the first time in 1913. Popularly known as the “Constitution Annotated”, the volume has been published as a bound edition every 10 years, with updates addressing new constitutional law cases issued every two years. The analysis is provided by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in the Library of Congress. Because of its size and update cycle, the print version has been used primarily by federal lawmakers, libraries and law firms.

    The new app and improved web publication will make the nearly 3,000-page “Constitution Annotated” more accessible to more people and enable updates of new case analysis three or four times each year.

    Click here to continue reading at the Library of Congress, or click here to view the Constitution Annotated online. Download the app from iTunes here.

    Weekly Faculty in the News, 9/12

    by  • September 12, 2013 • Faculty in the News • 0 Comments

    A roundup of faculty appearances in news sources and media from the last week.

    9/9 – Dean Harold Krent was featured in a Chicago Daily Law Bulletin story about a new partnership between Chicago-Kent and the Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), an institution founded by Leonel Fernández, former president of the Dominican Republic, that is “dedicated to the promotion and development of higher education in that country” (“Forming a new partnership,” behind paywall). The partnership will explore possible LL.M. program opportunities for Dominican law students.

    9/10 – Professor Ana Mencini was interviewed by Bulgarian International Television for a story on US immigration issues. To see the video (in Bulgarian), select “BiT Новините, 10 септември, вторник” from the bank below the video frame; Prof. Mencini appears at the 2:33 mark.

    9/11 – Justice David Erickson was quoted in a Chicago Tribune article about wrongful convictions (“Release of wrongly jailed men fails to silence critics“).

    Other news:

    9/6 – Professor Adrian Walters authored a new post on his blog, The Walters Way (“Some brief thoughts on the case method“).

    9/9 – Professor Carolyn Shapiro wrote a post for the ISCOTUSnow blog about what the Supreme Court is doing to prepare for the start of its next Term in October (“When will the Supreme Court start deciding cases again? Are they still on vacation?“).


    Employee Voice Is Good for Global Management

    by  • September 10, 2013 • Faculty Commentary • 1 Comment

    By César F. Rosado Marzán

    Can global management trust its local, national, and regional managers everywhere, all the time? What if one of those managers is particularly incompetent or corrupt? Could the firm’s global brand be destroyed by one bad apple somewhere in the far reaches of the globe?

    This is one of the questions that global corporations have to grapple with today as they expand into unknown territories. Firms try to do the most they can to ensure that their local, national, and regional managers are top-notch, trustworthy performers who are well-linked to global management. But the inevitable bad apple can sometimes fall through the cracks. This is a risk that global managers must assess, take, and attempt to reduce.

    Some labor lawyers have been trying to forge ways to better manage global firms. Their attempts include incorporating employees into the global governance of the firm: employees can serve as the eyes and ears of global management, in effect becoming a “check” on local, national, and regional managers. It is a way to disperse some of the power in the sub-global segments of transnational firms and to keep global management on top of things. (more…)

    Weekly Faculty in the News, 9/5

    by  • September 5, 2013 • Faculty in the News • 0 Comments

    A roundup of faculty appearances in news sources and media from the last week.

    8/27 – Professor Richard Warner was featured in a Medill Reports video story on a new website called Just Delete Me, which helps users protect their online privacy (“New program protects privacy by deleting old accounts“).

    8/30 – Professor David Schwartz was quoted in an Inside Counsel article about a controversial exclusion order issued by the International Trade Commission against Apple products that infringed a patent owned by Samsung (“Controversial ruling stops import of products that infringe standard-essential patents“).

    8/30 – Dean Stephen Sowle was quoted in a Chicago Daily Law Bulletin story on professionalism training for incoming students at law schools (“Building a foundation of professionalism,” behind paywall).

    8/31 – Professor Edward Lee authored a guest post on Techdirt, the high tech news blog, in which he chose his favorite Techdirt posts of the week (“Law Professor Edward Lee’s Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week“).

    9/4 – Dean Harold Krent was interviewed for an NBC5 video story on a woman’s repeated but ignored requests for a website to remove her online post (“Woman Says Cheater Site Wouldn’t Remove Scathing Entry“).

    9/5 – Professor Ron Staudt was featured in Chicago Lawyer’s September cover story, in which he discussed the future of legal technology for law students and practicing attorneys and the plans for his groundbreaking software, A2J Author (“iAttorney: A professor’s quest to automate the law“).

    Other News:

    – Professor Sheldon Nahmod authored a new post on his blog, Nahmod Law, titled “First Amendment Retaliatory Arrest Decisions After Reichle.”

    – It’s not too late to sign up to hear Professor Ed Lee give a book talk at the upcoming Social Media Week Chicago on September 25. Registration is free, and Lee will be discussing  his forthcoming book, The Fight for the Future: How People Defeated Hollywood and Saved the Internet—For Now. For more information, click here.