Thursday, August 06, 2015

IPSC, opening plenary

IPSC at DePaul
Opening Plenary Session
Tributes to Benjamin Liu & Greg Lastowka, much-missed colleagues who passed away in the last year.
Roberta Kwall, DePaul University College of Law
Changes in law school in last 15 years—rankings are more set.  Money is tight.  Teaching loads are increasing, not just numerically but in scope/areas other than IP.  Affects ability to do scholarship.  Schools may want us to work on the side: consistent w/ making our students practice ready.  How do we keep doing our scholarship?  Shari Motro, Scholarship Against Desire: authenticity in legal scholarship.  Not shooting from the hip, but doing the groundwork/getting an advanced degree if needed for the breadth of knowledge you want to have.  We won’t be judged in the future on the quantity of our work.  Need a safe, nurturing place to listen without planning a response; the wisdom of the group will go up.

The key to successful scholarship is the ability to reinvent oneself, like Madonna: true of scholarship venues as well as scholars.
Peter Yu, Texas A&M University School of Law
History: lots of schools were starting IP programs; one way to maintain leadership is to bring scholars together, and bring schools together as IPSC sponsors.  Importance of creating community despite costs.
Mark Lemley, Stanford Law School
Size of IP community has grown a lot. Dramatic expansion in subject matter from mostly ©—only 5 people have taught patent law longer than Mark L and Dan Burk.  Lateral expansion is good result: trade secret & design are newest additions.  Expansion in methodology, in particular empirical work. 
Not so good things: increasing divide into more polarized camps among scholars, not just practicing lawyers.  High protectionist group has their conferences and low protectionists have theirs; paying less attention to the other side, and that’s a worrisome thing.  Perhaps result of real world importance of what we do—people are looking for answers that support them and seek ideological scholarship.  But introduction of politics into IP scholarly community is worrying.  Also worrying: growing role of money. Resource constraints are important; but it’s also a function of the real world relevance/politics: some people would like to spend lots of money to get the answer they want.  That connection is becoming more clear.  You can have $ if you can demonstrate that patent holdup isn’t a problem in the telecom industry, or if you can show that intermediary liability is too great.  Politics + money isn’t good for society at large and it’s not good for the IP community.  Like the internet + anonymity: can really mess things up.
What is to be done?  IP community has long history of cohesiveness, talking to each other.  That makes us the envy of most other scholarly communities.  Robin Feldman & Lemley are working on a statement of principles for taking money for scholarship. 
Graeme Dinwoodie, University of Oxford Faculty of Law 
Mentoring of junior colleagues as an objective, pretty early on. Advancement of ideas/development of scholarly community.  Social interactions make inevitable professional disagreements an ordinary part of the interaction, rather than tense (cf. constitutional law) and encourages new members of the community to be willing to disagree.  New internationalism: international participants, access to international scholarship.  More scholarship is occurring pre-tenure, which is a good thing without a research-based doctoral agree. But many of the pretenure positions are short, and there’s tremendous pressure to present at IPSC as well as to produce law review articles.  Given vast amount of info, do you have to choose between reading, writing, and thinking?  Encourage younger colleagues to attend/participate w/out need to present and write; that may require deans to rethink allocation of travel funds.
Mike Madison: Publication styles tied to book chapters, journal articles, etc.  What’s changed?
Lemley: Definite move towards the blog post (heh), online/short/less footnoted article, which is in many respects a good thing; law reviews traditionally bloat from need to explain everything to second year law students. If you can assume a base of knowledge and get to the interesting point quickly, that’s great. But “don’t write long articles” is no better than “don’t write short” as a rule. New rule of no longer than 25,000 words privileges certain kinds of scholarship and not others.  How do we evaluate ideas in short/nontraditional forms?  Dennis Crouch has had big impact on patent scholarship, mostly by writing short summaries/items of interest to the academic world. Won’t today get hired at top school for that, which is a real issue.  It’s a move with substantial costs and substantial professional benefits.  We are breaking out of traditional molds in various respects—more peer reviewed journals; interdisciplinary publishing. But ways in which ideas are communicated through smaller quicker responses are not ways the legal academy is (yet) willing to recognize.
Kwall: Social media revolution has changed how we think and write in our daily lives.  But when you’re writing high impact scholarship, even if you’re going to be taking your article and spinning it to editorials [or amicus briefs!] those have to be based on the careful groundwork of your more thorough scholarship.  [For me, it goes both ways—having a series of blog posts on, say, Dastar, enables me to go back and identify trends/things that interest me theoretically.]  That can benefit your institution: being featured in media is in some ways better for reputational effect than just writing law review articles, but you can’t do media successfully without scholarship.
Dinwoodie: We’ve lost a little bit in having space to work through ideas; we need to be more pluralist about what’s good scholarship in methods, place of publication, etc. Should be less hesitation for young scholars to think about books than 15 years ago.  Online availability of chapters, at least, is making the ideas in a book capable of reaching more places than it was.
Yu: When he started, advice was to not write a book until you’ve been publishing for 10 years. The book he’d write now would be very different than the book he would have written starting out.  Think about what type of book you want to write—now he’s in a better position/more experienced.
Q about blogging: what’s the best way to avoid being taken over by trolls/have a productive conversation?  James Grimmelmann says blog in your own space.
Lemley: never read the comments.  Ironclad rule.  [Not so true of Livejournal, sigh.]  Discussion format has to be small group of repeat players whom you know.

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