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USD School of Law unveils new Center on Intellectual Property Law and Markets

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University of San Diego School of Law has launched a new Center on Intellectual Property Law and Markets. The center will train students in the fundamentals of intellectual property laws and the ways clients use IP rights to compete in real-world markets. It will also provide a forum where lawyers, clients, judges and policymakers can share ideas about IP doctrines and policies.

The center will be intellectually rigorous and intensely practical, according to USD School of Law Dean Kevin Cole. "It's not enough to train students in theory and doctrine," he explained. "Students need to know how patent, copyright, trademark and trade-secret laws work, and why they work as they do; but it's just as important that they understand how clients use these rights to develop and run businesses."

USD's focus on the role of IP rights in markets will distinguish it from other, more traditional IP centers.

"Take open-source software, for example," said David McGowan, the Lyle L. Jones Professor of Innovation and Competition Law at the law school, who will head the center. "Understanding how the licenses work presents some nifty copyright issues in the abstract, and we'll teach those. But our students will also learn how different firms use open-source projects as a complement to a consulting business model or a hardware business model."

Providing opportunities for students and community members to engage current IP policy issues, the center's policy workshops will focus on the intersection between economic analysis and IP policy.

"Economic analysis is as central to IP policy now as it has been to antitrust law for the past 30 years. This means scholars who study law and economics can add value to the work of lawyers and clients," McGowan said. "The people you will see at our workshops will be the people you might see as experts or amicus counsel."

The Center on IP Law and Market's first workshop, to be held in March, will focus on the question whether current patent doctrine imposes excessive royalties on defendants whose products may be the subject of multiple patents.

"It's called the royalty-stacking debate," McGowan said. "It raises questions such as whether courts should prefer damages to injunctions if infringement is found and, if so, how the damages should be calculated. Those are the types of questions that determine what your patents are worth once you get them."

The royalty-stacking program will feature scholars from Harvard, Stanford, Chicago and other leading universities as well as lawyers who work in the industries affected by this issue. Future programs will focus on such issues as reverse-payment settlements in pharmaceutical cases, antitrust and IP policy regarding conduct in standard-setting organizations, and inequitable conduct doctrine.

For more information about the Center on Intellectual Property Law and Markets, contact Professor David McGowan at dmcgowan@sandiego.edu.

Submitted by University of San Diego School of Law

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