• Student Contributions

    Guest posts by Chicago-Kent students.

    The Fourth Amendment in a Brave New World

    by  • October 2, 2014 • Faculty Workshops/ Conferences, Student Contributions • 0 Comments

    By Hanna Kaufman, Student writer for the Institute for Law and Humanities


    It is no secret that technology can be used to violate a person’s privacy rights. However, in his faculty workshop presentation and paper on Sept. 16, 2014, Professor I. Bennett Capers from Brooklyn Law School challenged this conventional view and argued that technology also has the capacity to protect citizens’ rights. He focused on the Fourth Amendment and how technology could assist police in carrying out searches more effectively and less discriminatorily than they currently do. For example, the police could use an app to contact a magistrate and obtain a warrant almost immediately so that there will be judicial involvement from the outset without the need for so many exceptions to the warrant requirement. He argued that new technologies can lead to more effective and more equitable policing with greater accountability to the courts and the public at large.

    Professor I. Bennett Capers of Brooklyn Law School presented on “The Fourth Amendment in a Brave New World” as a part of Chicago-Kent’s faculty speaker series.

    The audience appreciated the intention behind Professor Capers’ proposals, but some faculty members expressed concerns over whether some of the interventions he suggested could actually undermine some of his main aims or have other unforeseen consequences. For example, Professor Capers suggested using electronic scanning devices to detect whether citizens are armed with guns. He thought that it would be less troubling to scan everyone than it would be to maintain the current system of stop- and-frisk policing, in which racial minorities are often targeted. Some faculty members worried that such technology might actually enhance discrimination, citing examples in England where people in charge of monitoring video surveillance have been found to zoom in more closely on people they do not like. They suggested that officers might turn their scanners on the same people they often choose to stop and frisk now. Professor Capers responded that there could be requirements for search by scanner that are similar to existing rules for subway searches and airport security scans, and that perhaps randomization and audits need to be built into the process.

    Additional questions centered on unforeseen consequences, particularly those that might follow from Professor Capers’ controversial idea of using facial recognition technology to access a person’s criminal and other records just by scanning a person’s face. Some in the audience wondered how such a large database of information would be safeguarded, especially when mug shots are often publicly traded. Some faculty members also expressed discomfort over increasing the ease of accessing such information at a time when the police force is highly militarized and might use the information as a justification for violence against undeserving citizens.

    These are challenging questions without clear answers. Of course, the discussion itself supports a main facet of Capers’ argument: technology is neither inherently rights-denying or rights-enhancing. It is neutral. And with situations like that in Ferguson seeming to increase in frequency, it is important that we follow down Professor Capers’ path and at least try to steer our use of technology toward creating a fairer world.

    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…)

    Live Blogging the Chicago-Kent Intellectual Property Supreme Court Review

    by  • October 5, 2010 • Faculty Commentary, Faculty Workshops/ Conferences, Student Contributions • 0 Comments

    Posted by Timothy Peterson, JD student

    Professor David Schwartz moderated, and the Honorable James Zagel and Professor Donald Chisum participated today in a panel on Bilski v. Kappos.

    Background:
    In Bilski v. Kappos, the Supreme Court held that the Federal Circuit’s “Machine-or-Transformation” test was not the exclusive test for determining whether an invention is directed toward patentable subject matter. The Court referred to the language of 35 U.S.C. 101 and affirmed prior precedent that “laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas” are not patentable. The Machine-or-Transformation test is, however, still an important clue to patentability. The Court also held that business methods are not entirely excluded from patentability but that Bilski’s patent was unpatentable as directed toward an abstract idea. A concurrence, written by Justice Stevens, argued that business methods are not directed toward patentable subject matter and cited extensive history to that effect. Justice Breyer wrote a second concurrence, clarifying points of agreement between all of the justices: that patentable subject matter is broad but not without limits, that the Machine-or-Transformation test is a useful clue to patentability, but that Machine-or-Transformation is not the exclusive test, and also that the standard of State Street Bank has been overruled.

    Professor Schwartz asked what Bilski meant going forward.

    Judge Zagel said that the Supreme Court was saying that “the Federal Circuit was wrong, but they weren’t that far off.” Every judge who saw the case, with one exception (Judge Newman), said that Bilski’s invention was not patentable. The problem was to formulate the proper language for the test. The Supreme Court said, be very, very careful about process patents, and that presents no dilemma at all for the judiciary because in making a decision, “you run down a list of considerations and at some point make a decision.” Bilski is more an issue of language used to justify that decision.

    Professor Chisum said, “Bilski tells me very little.” He felt that the Supreme Court held that Bilski’s invention was unpatentable because “this is an abstract idea.” Then he went on to wonder, “what does that mean?” He agreed that, “judges do and should reach an intuitional judgment about patentability.” But Chisum found it “disturbing” that the Supreme Court held that Bilski’s patent is an abstract idea but made that statement in the abstract – without cited factual evidence. (more…)

    Student Brief: Jack Getman at C-K: “What Makes A Great Law School?”

    by  • February 24, 2010 • Faculty Workshops/ Conferences, Student Contributions • 1 Comment

    by student blogger Orijit Ghoshal

    On Monday, February 22, Jack Getman of the University of Texas Law School spoke to a gathering of faculty members about what makes a great law school. Dean Krent observed that as a novelist, professor, and clinician, Professor Getman is uniquely positioned to comment on different approaches taken to law professorship. 

    Professor Getman claimed that two unique characteristics made law schools great, in spite of administrators’ efforts to game widely published and relied upon law school rankings. First, great law schools produced new ideas and innovative approaches to the law. Second, great law schools focused more on teaching students than publishing in academic circles.

    (more…)

    Student Brief: The Palmer Prize for Civil Liberties: Presidential Constitutionalism in Perilous Times

    by  • December 14, 2009 • Faculty Workshops/ Conferences, Multimedia, Student Contributions • 0 Comments

    By student blogger Orijit Ghoshal

    (Listen to the webcast of Professor Matheson’s talk here.)

    The Palmer Prize for Civil Liberties was awarded to Professor Scott M. Matheson, Jr. on Friday, November, 20th for his book, Presidential Constitutionalism in Perilous Times. Established three years ago by Roy and Susan Palmer, the Palmer Prize is awarded to scholars who examine current issues affecting individual rights in tension with governmental responsibilities. Dean Krent awarded the prize and introduced Matheson in his current role as Professor of Law at the University Of Utah College Of Law, as former Dean of the same school, and former US Attorney for the District of Utah.

    (more…)

    Student Brief: “The Nazi Obsession with Legalizing the Holocaust” by Harry Reicher

    by  • November 20, 2009 • Faculty Workshops/ Conferences, Student Contributions • 0 Comments

    By student blogger Moshe Zvi Marvit

    On November 04, 2009, Professor Harry Reicher, Adjunct
    Professor at University of Pennsylvania Law School and Scholar-in-Residence at
    Touro Law School, presented “The Nazi Obsession with Legalizing the Holocaust”
    to a packed room of students and faculty. Professor Reicher addressed up front
    the inherent tensions of discussing the Holocaust and law, because the general
    conception of the Holocaust is at odds with what most think of when one thinks
    of the law. Where law is associated with justice, morality, due process, and
    respect, the Holocaust is associated with brutality, injustice, dehumanization,
    and hate.

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    Student Brief: More from Professor Birdthistle on Mutual Funds in the Supreme Court

    by  • November 4, 2009 • Faculty Scholarship, Faculty Workshops/ Conferences, Student Contributions • 0 Comments

    By student blogger Orijit Ghoshal

        On Tuesday, October 27, Professor William Birdthistle kicked off a series of lectures designed to give students a glimpse into the faculty’s academic scholarship with a lecture on Jones v. Harris Associates. In addition to writing an article to be published by the University of Illinois Law Review on the subject, Prof. Birdthistle served as counsel of record on two Briefs Of Amici Curiae Law Professors In Support of the Petitioners.

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    Student Brief: The Legal Implications of Drug Testing in Sports by Professor Schmidt

    by  • November 4, 2009 • Faculty Workshops/ Conferences, Student Contributions • 3 Comments

    By student blogger Mark Berardi 

        The Sports and Entertainment Law
    Society recruited Professor Christopher Schmidt of Chicago-Kent College of Law
    to present the history and legal implications of drug testing in sports.
    Professor Schmidt’s talk drew on a project he is currently working on entitled,
    “Governing Baseball.” He is exploring the history of the relationship between
    baseball and the government through four case studies: (1) The appointment of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as the first
    Commissioner of baseball in the wake of the Black Sox Scandal; (2) the
    integration of baseball; (3) team relocations and the expansion of major league
    baseball in the 1950s and 1960s; and (4) the introduction of drug testing in
    the past decade. He argues that while organized baseball has generally prided
    itself on its independence from government regulation, the game actually has a
    long history of reliance on government, and, furthermore, government
    involvement has generally benefited the game.

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    Student Brief: Alison LaCroix: Temporal Imperialism

    by  • November 3, 2009 • Faculty Workshops/ Conferences, Student Contributions • 0 Comments

    By student blogger Laura Elkayam

    In September Professor Alison LaCroix, a legal historian and an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School, presented her recent article, “Temporal Imperialism”, which identifies and critiques the United States Supreme Court’s disoriented relationship with notions of time. Specifically, Professor LaCroix argues that despite its proclamations of institutional continuity, the Court in fact routinely engages in a kind of “temporal packaging” that indicates a more severed state of affairs.

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    Student Brief: Nahmod on Constitutional Torts, Over-Deterrence and Supervisory Liability After Iqbal

    by  • October 30, 2009 • Faculty Workshops/ Conferences, Student Contributions • 0 Comments

    By student blogger Moshe Marvit


    Recently Professor Sheldon Nahmod presented a talk to the Chicago-Kent College of Law faculty about the Supreme Court’s recent decision of Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009). Though the case is primarily a pleadings case involving §1983 pleading requirements after Twombly, the talk focused on the Court’s revisionist treatment of §1983 supervisory liability.

    Professor Nahmod’s talk, entitled, “Consitutional Torts, Over-Deterrence and Supervisory Liability After Iqbal,” proceeded in three parts. First a primer on §1983 and Bivens actions was discussed, with particular attention paid to the purposes of §1983, the role of immunities, and the statutes so called “background of tort liability.” Next, Professor Nahmod discussed the role that deterrence, and perhaps over-deterrence, has played in the developing interpretation of the statute. Finally, a framework for understanding the different approaches that the Court has taken towards supervisory liability was provided, and an argument made for why the Court’s current approach in Iqbal is inconsistent with the statute’s purposes and prior precedent.

    (more…)