• Archive for February, 2014

    Weekly Faculty in the News, 2/27/14

    by  • February 27, 2014 • Faculty in the News • 0 Comments

    A roundup of faculty appearances in news sources and media from the last week, 2/20/14 to 2/27/14.

    2/24 – Douglas Godfrey was featured in a Fox 32 video and article on the arrest of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman (“‘El Chapo’ charged in Mexico, remains Chicago’s Public Enemy No. 1”).

    Godfrey was also interviewed by WDCB Public Radio for a segment on Guzman (2/26, “Drug Lord’s Arrest Could Put Legal Communities At Risk”). Listen below:

    2/24 – Dean Harold Krent was featured in an ABA Journal article on Chicago-Kent’s new clinical rotation program for 1Ls, a part of the 1L Your Way program (“Chicago law school adds clinical rotation for 1Ls”). According to its website, “the clinical rotation option aims to help students refine their career interests by gaining exposure to diverse areas of law practice early in their schooling.”

    2/27Lori Andrews was quoted in a Chicago Tribune story on privacy issues related to classroom technology (“Privacy concerns arise over monitoring software”).

    2/27 – Ed Lee’s scholarship was mentioned in a Reuters article on the intellectual property cases before the US Supreme Court this Term (“U.S. high court sets record for intellectual property caseload”).


    2/24 – At Nahmod Law, Sheldon Nahmod highlights his newest article on the birth of Section 1983 in the Supreme Court, just published by the Lewis and Clark Law Review.

    For more information, contact the Office of Public Affairs at IIT Chicago-Kent.

    Schwartz on the Value of Open Data

    by  • February 21, 2014 • Faculty Commentary, Scholarship • 0 Comments

    Earlier this week, David Schwartz, Christopher Cotropia (Richmond), and Jay Kesan (Illinois) coauthored a guest post titled “The Value of Open Data for Patent Policy” on the Patently-O blog. The post calls for more publicly available data in the field of empirical legal studies, especially in the study of patent assertion entities—PAEs, commonly known as patent trolls, which the authors have studied and written about. The following is an excerpt from the post:

    Harlan Krumholz, one of the nation’s leading medical researchers, recently wrote an important New York Times Op-Ed piece called Give the Data to the People. Dr. Krumholz praised Johnson & Johnson for making all of its clinical trial data available to scientists around the world. This included not only the conclusions in published articles, but also unpublished raw data. Companies are often reluctant to share raw data because their competitors may benefit. In the medical field, there are also patient privacy concerns. But releasing the raw data permits other researchers to learn from and build upon existing data. It also offers other researchers the ability to replicate and verify the findings of important medical studies. Dr. Krumholz concludes: “For the good of society, this is a breakthrough that should be replicated throughout the research world.”

    We believe that Dr. Kumholz’s call for more publicly available data is applicable to empirical legal studies. It is especially critical, in our view, to the study of patent assertion entities (“PAEs,” which some refer to as patent trolls). There is an important public policy debate underway about the role of PAEs within patent law. There have been reports in the press about PAEs—including a high profile report by the President’s Council of Economic Advisors—that relied upon confidential data. In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to enact patent reform legislation. The main basis for the reform is alleged abuses by “patent trolls.” Unfortunately, much of the raw data about patent litigation is not publicly available.

    As academic researchers, we are interested in data about PAEs. We have previously studied and written an article about patent infringement lawsuits filed in 2010 and 2012. Because of the importance of the debate about PAEs, we released the raw data from our study to the public (here) to permit others to evaluate and study. Others have downloaded and commented on our data to us, and we have gone back and verified particular classifications in some instances. We believe more publicly available data is necessary.

    Click here to continue reading.

    Weekly Faculty in the News, 2/20/14

    by  • February 20, 2014 • Faculty in the News • 0 Comments

    A roundup of faculty appearances in news sources and media from the last week, 2/13/14 to 2/20/14.

    2/15 – Lori Andrews was quoted in a New York Times story on criminal investigators’ use of social media to gather evidence (“Social Media, a Trove of Clues and Confessions”). Andrews argued that an unchecked eagerness to use social media in investigations may endanger the right to a fair trial.

    2/17Douglas Godfrey was interviewed by phone on CLTV’s Politics Tonight for a story about Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law and the Michael Dunn trial.

    2/18Martin Malin was quoted in an MSNBC article on Northwestern football players’ push for unionization rights (“College football players demand right to form a union”). Malin noted that the players face difficult legal challenges on the road to unionization, since the NCAA insists they are “student-athletes” and not employees.


    2/18César Rosado Marzán’s recent thoughts on the Volkswagen unionization defeat were highlighted in a post on the blog In These Times (“What Are the UAW’s Legal Options After the Volkswagen Defeat?”).

    2/20 – Two recent posts by Christopher Schmidt—part of his new “Drama in the Court” series—were featured in the daily roundup on SCOTUSblog.

    2/20David Schwartz authored a guest post (with Christopher Cotropia and Jay Kesan) on the Patently-O blog  titled “The Value of Open Data for Patent Policy”. The post calls for more publicly available data in the field of empirical legal studies, especially in the study of patent assertion entities—PAEs, commonly known as patent trolls, which the authors have studied and written about.

    For more information, contact the Office of Public Affairs at IIT Chicago-Kent.

    The Good News from Chattanooga

    by  • February 17, 2014 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    By César F. Rosado Marzán

    A majority of Volkswagen (“VW”) employees in Chattanooga, Tennessee, voted against unionization last week. Six hundred and twenty-six (626) employees voted in favor of the union. Seven hundred and twelve voted (712) against. Union supporters took the vote as very bad news. The blogs are now saturated with theories of why the vote went the way it did.

    But there is good news! First, the more than six hundred employees that voted in favor of union representation can still bargain collectively with VW as a so-called “minority union.” Second, the UAW and other parties can file a complaint against the United States in the International Labor Organization (“ILO”) for permitting government officials in Tennessee to interfere with workers’ freedom of association rights. The goal of such a complaint would not be to set aside the elections, but to shape a more favorable terrain for unions in the future.

    A minority union is a union that represents only its members. As such, it is different from exclusive representation unions, or the unions that are certified by the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”). Any collective bargaining agreement entered by the minority union and the employer would cover only the members of the union. Under current law, employers may bargain with a minority union if they want to. There is no legal duty for employers to bargain with a minority union under present interpretations of the National Labor Relations Act.

    However, VW, as a model corporate citizen, has pledged to abide by the core labor rights of the ILO. Volkswagen has made such pledges both in its corporate code of conduct and its international framework agreement with Industriall, the global union to which the UAW belongs. One of these core rights is freedom of association. As the IFA states:

    The basic right of all employees to establish and join unions and employee representations is acknowledged. Volkswagen, the unions and employee representatives respectively work together openly and in the spirit of constructive and co-operative conflict management. (more…)

    Weekly Faculty in the News, 2/13/14

    by  • February 13, 2014 • Faculty in the News • 0 Comments

    A roundup of faculty appearances in news sources and media from the last week, 2/6/14 to 2/13/14.

    2/8 – Professor Ed Lee  appeared on the Hearsay Culture radio show and podcast to discuss his new book, The Fight for the Future: How People Defeated Hollywood and Saved the Internet — For Now.

    2/9 – An ABA News article on a panel titled “The Justice Gap: Legal Access for Clients of Modest Means through Innovative Solutions” quoted participant Gary Laser, Director of Clinical Education at Chicago-Kent (“Panelists explore solutions to justice gap”).


    2/7 – Professor Sheldon Nahmod added a new post to his running “Know Your Constitution” series on Nahmod Law, which aims to summarize constitutional ideas in everyday language. In this post, he explains the meaning of the Due Process clauses that appear in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

    2/12Prim&r’s Ampersand published a guest post by Visiting Assistant Professor Valerie Gutmann Koch and her colleague Susie Han (“Enrolling the Cognitively Impaired in a Research Study: The Role of a Legally Authorized Representative in Providing Surrogate Consent to Enroll Adults Who Lack Consent Capacity in Research”). The post examines a recent report by the New York State Task Force on Life and Law, the state’s bioethics commission, on which Prof. Koch serves as Special Advisor. Professor Koch has also previously written on the report here.

    For more information, contact the Office of Public Affairs at IIT Chicago-Kent.

    Introducing a New ISCOTUS Series: Drama in the Court

    by  • February 12, 2014 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    By Christopher Schmidt [reposted from ISCOTUSnow]

    In my new role as Director of the Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States, I am happy to introduce “Drama in the Court,” a new series on ISCOTUSnow. “Drama in the Court” will offer a weekly post in which I revisit interesting moments at oral argument in the Supreme Court. I will look at recently argued cases, older cases that are relevant to issues currently before the Court, as well as some landmark cases from the Oyez archives.

    My goal is to search out exchanges between the Justices and lawyers that are particularly lively, entertaining, humorous, tense, occasionally embarrassing, and always, hopefully, edifying. My posts will place these dramatic moments in context, explaining the basic issues before the Court and the significance of the particular exchange. Each post will include audio clips from Oyez, so readers can hear for themselves these dramatic moments in the Court.

    I hope this series will be of interest to all Court watchers out there, but I particularly hope that it will be of use to educators. I know that teachers at all levels have come to appreciate Oyez’s incredible value as a teaching resource. But I also know that it can be difficult to find the time to listen to an entire oral argument, or to locate just the right clips to present in class, or to get a grasp of exactly what is going on in the Court. “Drama in the Court” is intended to help with that. I choose clips both for their entertainment value and for the way they highlight, in a particularly accessible way, important legal disputes.

    To get an idea of what to expect, you can visit some of my recent posts.

    My two most recent posts focus on recently argued cases. In Constitutional First Principles on Display, I look at NLRB v. Noel Canning. In Hypotheticals Gone Wild, I look at Navarette v. California. And in Pork Chops and Privacy, I look at Smith v. Maryland, a 1979 case that has taken on new relevance with the recent legal challenges to the NSA’s wiretapping program.

    I am always looking for new cases to profile, so please let me know if you have any suggestions. You can reach me at cschmidt@kentlaw.iit.edu.

    Lee on “Hearsay Culture” Radio Show

    by  • February 11, 2014 • Multimedia, Scholarship • 0 Comments

    Professor Ed Lee recently appeared on the Hearsay Culture radio show and podcast to discuss his new book, The Fight for the Future: How People Defeated Hollywood and Saved the Internet — For Now. The show, which airs regularly on Stanford University’s KZSU-FM, is hosted by Dave Levine, an Assistant Professor of Law at Elon University School of Law and a Non-Residential Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society (CIS) at Stanford Law School. It focuses primarily on intellectual property, communication, technology, and cyberlaw issues.

    In the interview, Lee and Levine unpack the many events and people responsible for the downfall of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and other controversial copyright bills like it. Listen here.

    Lee’s book is now available in both Kindle and paperback editions.

    Candy Crush Ragnarok: The Saga of Trademarking “Saga”

    by  • February 10, 2014 • Student Contributions • 4 Comments

    By Sam Castree, III, Chicago-Kent College of Law, J.D. Class of 2013*

    On December 27, 2013, King.com (the makers of Candy Crush Saga and other video games) filed a Notice of Opposition with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office against the trademark registration of “The Banner Saga” by video game developer Stoic, LLC. King has caused a bit of an uproar on the Internet recently, not only for this opposition, but also for its attempts to individually register the word “Candy” and the word “Saga.”

    Inadvertently, this ordeal has shown how woefully ignorant the general populace is about intellectual property law. Comments likeI have decided to copyright the word King. Anyone found calling their game or company King will either change their name or pay me royalties. :)” and “So Microsoft can sue the guys who put the Windows in my House?” are nonsensical, legally speaking. Still, there is a semi-legitimate thread running through the rage: “How can King trademark a simple word like ‘candy’?” The off-the-cuff response is, “The same way that Apple Computers has trademarked “Apple.” All trademarks take the form Mark [X] for Brand [Y], where X≠Y. Apple has Apple™ for computers, but not for airliners, lingerie, or fruit. King wants to register “Saga” for “Provision of computer games on line or by means of a global computer network” and similar services. That falls within International Classification (IC) 41, per the Trademark Office.

    Honestly, my initial response to King opposing The Banner Saga was, “That’s ridiculous, there’s no way that’s going to work.” Then I read up a little, saw what was claimed in the opposition paper, and I thought, “Okay, I see where they’re coming from, but that’s still ridiculous and not going to work.”

    King already has several registered trademarks. It has registered the video game titles Bubble Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Hoop De Loop Saga, Mahjong Saga, Puzzle Saga, Pyramid Saga and Pyramid Solitaire Saga. King has several other titles that are still working their way through the Trademark Office and are not yet registered (including, oddly enough, “Candy Crush Saga”). (more…)

    How Tax Law Made America Modern

    by  • February 7, 2014 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    By Christopher Schmidt [reposted from Legal History Jotwell]

    Reviewed in this post: Ajay K. Mehrotra, Making the Modern American Fiscal State: Law, Politics, and the Rise of Progressive Taxation, 1877-1929 (2013).

    Ajay Mehrotra’s new book, Making the Modern American Fiscal State, describes how the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries transformed the way it taxed its citizens and thereby laid the foundation for new forms of governance and new sensibilities about the network of civic obligations that bound the nation together. This is a truly impressive work of legal historical scholarship—thoroughly researched, well written, and powerfully argued. Mehrotra also offers a masterful demonstration of scholarly synthesis, artfully weaving together an intricate tapestry of economics, politics, law, and social history.

    At the heart of Making the Modern American Fiscal State is a revolution in American tax practices. Prior to the twentieth century, the national government raised revenue through a system of import duties and regressive excise taxes that were “indirect, hidden, disaggregated, and partisan.” (P. 6.) By the end of the story, in the wake of World War I and on the cusp of the New Deal, a much different taxing regime was in place. It was a progressive system that was “direct, transparent, centralized, and professionally administered.” (P. 6.) While prior forms of taxation drew on a premise of a quid pro quo exchange between citizen and government—citizens put money into the system and received certain benefits in return—the new form of taxation challenged this atomistic “benefits” theory and emphasized instead a thicker sense of national community and responsibility. Taxes were assessed on a principle of one’s “ability to pay.” This approach, Mehrotra explains, “promoted an active role for the positive state in the reallocation of fiscal burdens, the reconfiguration of civil identity, and the rise of administrative authority.” (P. 10.) The rise of the modern fiscal state, built on this transformation in taxing policy was, in Mehrotra’s account, a radical change in policy with lasting effects on American statecraft and society. (more…)

    Weekly Faculty in the News, 2/6/14

    by  • February 6, 2014 • Faculty in the News • 0 Comments

    A roundup of faculty appearances in news sources and media from the last week, 1/30/14 to 2/6/14.

    2/4 – Professor Douglas Godfrey appeared on CLTV’s Politics Tonight to discuss the release of a special prosecutor’s report on the 2004 death of David Koschman.


    2/4 – Professor Adrian Walters wrote about the need to rethink the canon of Contracts cases at his blog, The Walters Way.

    For more information, contact the Office of Public Affairs at IIT Chicago-Kent.