Monday, 24 June 2013

Is Intellectual Property a Lex Specialis? ATRIP Congress Day 1


This Leo is currently attending the 32nd Annual Congress of the International Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property (ATRIP) hosted by the Faculty of Law, Oxford University (see conference program here). Speakers and participants at the conference are engaging with the following questions:
Is IP law an exceptional body of law (a lex specialis)? "To what extent do intellectual property laws displace or conflict with generally applicable legal rules, whether of private law, public law or procedural law?  To what extent could (and should) these aspects of intellectual property law simply be handled by general principles of law?  Increasingly, disputes about intellectual property are adjudicated by specialist courts and judges; is this appropriate, and how does it alter the development and interpretation of intellectual property law?" (see the full description here)


The first panel considered these questions from the perspective of property law. The panelists, Robert Burrell, Emily Hudson, Séverine Dussolier, Dev Gangjee and Tanya Aplin,  discussed property law rules such as those relating to the abandonment of property, how to conceptualize the commons, brands as property and the true nature of trade secrets.  The second panel considered the relationship between copyright and contract law. This Leo spoke about fairness as regulated by consumer protection legislation.  Pina D'Agostino shared her thoughts on copyright, creators and the new media (based partly on her book Copyright, Contract, Creators: New Media, New Rules (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar 2010).  Ansgar Ohly and Alain Strowel discussed the exhaustion of rights (in the wake of the UsedSoft decision) and Charles McManis gave an insightful overview of mass licensing in e-commerce and on social networks.

The third panel discussed specialized patent courts and patent adjudication. It comprised of Bing Wang, Robin Jacob, Rochelle Dreyfuss and Cyril Rigamonti. They shared their insights on the experiences of China, the UK, the US and Switzerland respectively.  The fourth panel of the day considered exceptionalism in procedural rules (including conflicts).  Toshi Kono discussed the work of the International Law Association's Committee on IP and international law and Tortsen Larsen spoke on the Unitary Patent Agreement's jurisdiction rules. Then Mireille von Eechoud pondered the significance of art 5(2) of the Berne Convention and Kim Weatherall ended the session on a high note as she discussed lex specialis IP procedural rules on the international and domestic level.


The final session of the day was the presentation of the winner of ATRIP Essay Competition, Begoña Otero, to the Congress. Begona then gave an overview of her winning essay entitled 'Compelling disclosure of software interoperable information: a risk for innovation or a balanced solution'.  All in all, it was a very enjoyable, productive and thought-provoking day. Now ATRIP's IP teachers and researchers hit the town .... The Welcome Dinner will be hosted at the Pitt Rivers Museum where the IP discussions will no doubt continue.



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