IP Law at GW
The GW Law School has one of the oldest specialized intellectual property law programs in the world, and its involvement with intellectual property matters dates back even further. By the time the Law School started a Master of Patent Law program in 1895, its alumni had already written the patents for Bell's telephone, Mergenthaler's linotype machine, and Eastman's roll film camera, and dozens of its alumni had worked in the U.S. Patent Office. GW Law alumni were also responsible for obtaining and enforcing patents for additional breakthrough innovations, including the Wright brothers' airplane, Fermi and Szilard's nuclear reactor and Cohen and Boyer's cloning technique. They also distinguished themselves as governmental officials, judges, and leaders of the bar in patent, copyright and trademark law, and related areas.
GW Law continues to bolster its expertise in patent law with complementary strengths in copyright, trademark, communications, computer and Internet regulation, electronic commerce, genetics, and medicine. The program was most recently ranked second in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
Three new programs advance GW Law's global emphasis.
International law at GW continues to flourish and expand. Building on its strengths in intellectual property law, human rights, and international trade law, GW Law has embarked on three important new programs. Each program provides GW Law students critical practical training in international matters while enabling them to master the substantive principles. With each program, GW Law is also building relationships with other leading international legal institutions.
Intellectual property attorneys know that to do their work, they increasingly must operate in a global market. U.S. laws and treaties, along with the general globalization of commerce, are creating a host of new issues for companies that need to protect their technologies, copyrights, and trademarks.
That's why GW Law, in partnership with the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition and Tax Law; University of Augsburg in Germany; and the Technische UniversitŁt M┘nchen, has created the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center, an international center for education and research in Munich, Germany (see www.miplc.de).
The first project of the MIPLC is an Intellectual Property LLM program. The program's one-year course of study, which starts this October, consists of several dozen courses that will be taught by IP experts from all over the world, including GW Law professors Robert Brauneis, Martin J. Adelman, Roger Schechter, Dawn Nunziato, and John Duffy. In addition, Judge Randall R. Rader, JD '78, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, will provide instruction. Rader teaches some of GW Law's general and specialized IP courses.
The program gives attorneys and other professionals comprehensive training in all aspects of IP. For more seasoned IP attorneys, it provides new international perspectives on their current work. For all involved, the program provides invaluable networking opportunities. The curriculum planners envision different professionals—attorneys, patent agents, judges, business experts, scientists, engineers, and university faculty members—taking advantage of the degree program.
"The Munich program is really a one-year boot camp in all areas of IP law," says Professor Robert Brauneis, GW Law's representative to the MIPLC's managing board.
The pace of the program—courses taught in one- or two-week intensive modules—allows students to be exposed to more topics and more experts from around the world than a more traditional LLM program would allow.
The GW Law professors will be teaching mostly in the summer, which will allow them to offer a summer JD program in addition to the LLM program.
Brauneis is particularly excited about the opportunity the program provides for U.S. students. "Even U.S. clients often are worried that their intellectual property could be stolen abroad, so IP protection worldwide is important for major patentable technologies. And it's just as true for copyrighted material. The United States is the biggest entertainment exporter in the world. And these days you don't even have to be that big of a business to worry about global protection."
Brauneis cites some U.S. laws and treaties, such as the Berne Convention and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, as providing further evidence of the need for U.S. IP attorneys to be internationally atuned.
Dean Young addresses the audience at the MIPLC opening events.
"I think that Americans tend to be somewhat parochial, feeling comfortable being inside one of the world's largest economies. Sometimes that can put us at a competitive disadvantage. The average European IP lawyer knows much more about U.S. IP law than vice versa."
And he's not talking just about Europe. The situation is similar with Asia.
In addition to law courses, the MIPLC IP LLM program will include courses that have a combination of business and legal considerations, "so that lawyers really become sensitized to the role IP plays in a business. That way, IP lawyers can understand the concerns of their clients and in some cases make them understand aspects of their business they haven't even considered, such as how you value intellectual property, how you license it, and how you manage a research cycle with an eye to making sure you're producing things that are going to be protected."
In addition, the Munich location will put students in the center of the European IP world. Munich is home to the European Patent Office, Germany's international patent and trademark office, and the German Federal Patent Court. It also has the largest concentration of IP law firms in Germany, including many American firms. Munich is home to IP-intensive industries-media, technology and manufacturing, and biotech firms. Brauneis adds, "Students will be able to take advantage of that through internships, guest lecturers, and other programs."
By the end of April, applications for the program had come not only from the United States and Europe but also from Asia-countries such as Japan and Thailand. "We will have a real mix of people," Brauneis says, both among the students and the faculty. "Frankly, for international IP lawyers, it's not only a unique learning experience. It's also an incredible networking opportunity."
Arturo Carrillo will direct GW Law's International Human Rights Clinic.
Starting next academic year, a new clinical program focusing on international human rights will be part of GW Law's curriculum.
Human rights has been a focus of study for the GW Law faculty, so the clinic is a natural extension of that work.
Columbia Law Professor Arturo Carrillo, JD '91, is joining the GW Law faculty this summer to set up and direct a new international human rights clinic, which will be offered in the spring of 2004, and to teach precursor clinic courses in international law and human rights law. He has been directing a similar clinic at Columbia, where he has been teaching since 2000. Carrillo, a native of Colombia, also has taught human rights law in Bogota and worked with the United Nations in various capacities as a human rights attorney and legal adviser.
Although GW is a leader in clinical education, with 16 clinics now residing at the school, the GW International Human Rights Clinic will face some unique challenges. "The human rights clinic casts a net broader and farther than most other clinics in terms of the clients and cases it works with," Carrillo says. "Unlike most other clinics, we work not only with victims of human rights abuses but also with organizational clients. Our clients frequently are human rights NGOs or practitioners to whom we provide support and technical assistance."
Carrillo will lead the students in collaborating with nongovernmental organizations and public interest lawyers to assist them in litigation and advocacy.
Leading By Example
Aside from the new clinic, GW Law students are exposed to international human rights law through the activities and teachings of Law School professors heavily involved in the topic. Two such professors are Sean Murphy and Ralph Steinhardt.
Murphy, associate professor of law, recently represented the U.S. government before the International Court of Justice. He and visiting Professor Michael J. Matheson argued on behalf of the U.S. government in Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America. The case, filed in 1992, concerns U.S. Navy attacks on three offshore oil production complexes. Iran alleges the attacks constituted a breach of the 1955 U.S.-Iran Treaty of Amity. The United States alleges that Iran violated the same treaty by attacking U.S. vessels in the Gulf.
Murphy also appeared on behalf of the government of Ethiopia before the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission during a two-week hearing in December in The Hague. That hearing dealt with claims for alleged mistreatment of prisoners of war during the Eritrean-Ethiopian war of 1998-2001.
Before joining the Law School faculty in 1998, Murphy served as legal counselor at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague.
Steinhardt, Professor of Law and International Affairs and Arthur Selwyn Miller Research Professor of Law, has been focusing on whether in certain circumstances private corporations can bear legal responsibility for human rights violations abroad. Oxford University Press is publishing his monograph "Corporate Responsibility and the International Law of Human Rights: The New Lex Mercatoria" on the subject.
Steinhardt also was an expert witness in a recent case filed by the Presbyterian Church of Sudan against the Talisman Company for its complicity in massive human rights violations in Sudan—a case in which the judge followed Steinhardt's moderate approach in refusing to dismiss claims based on genocide, slavery, and war crimes.
In addition, Steinhardt remains active in the litigation of international human rights in U.S. courts. He is the founding chairman of the board of the Center for Justice and Accountability, an anti-impunity NGO set up in San Francisco by Amnesty International.
In addition, he and his students will be directly representing victims of human rights abuses. "One case we will be working on is on behalf of Haitian immigrants expelled from the Dominican Republic," Carrillo says. "Because they live on the Haitian/Dominican border, the case obviously will require some travel. The case is ongoing in the Inter-American Human Rights system."
Plans call for the clinic to work on other cases in the Inter-American system. The headquarters for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is just three blocks from GW. "Students in my clinic will be litigating cases before the Commission, as well as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in San Jose, Costa Rica."
In addition, the IHR clinic will partner with the Center for Justice and Accountability, a human-rights NGO based in San Francisco, to litigate international human rights cases that arise in U.S. courts. "These cases are against people who have committed international crimes and are in the United States for some reason. These are known as Alien Tort Claims Act cases."
Another NGO Carrillo intends the clinic to work with is the D.C.-based Center for Justice and International Law. This collaboration is an example of how the Law School's Washington location lends itself to partnering with groups in the international human rights area.
In partnering with these and other organizations, students will be able to work with experienced attorneys at institutions engaged in human rights activism both domestically and abroad. Not only will they litigate and advocate before international tribunals and treaty bodies like the Inter-American and United Nations human rights systems, they also will perform research and advocacy in the field of transitional justice.
When Carrillo attended law school, only two or three places in the country exposed students to the practice of international human rights law. Still, he says, "fewer than a dozen law schools in the country today have full-blown human rights clinics like the one I am starting at GW. Any law school that wants to have a serious international program needs to offer the students the possibility to work on international issues in a clinical setting. And the best-suited clinic for that is the human rights clinic." GW Law's long tradition in international law makes it an ideal setting for the new clinic.
There was no human rights clinic when Carrillo was a student, but there was Professor Tom Buergenthal, now a member of the International Court of Justice, who introduced him to the subject.
"He was my international law professor and I discovered human rights law in his class. Professor Buergenthal mentored me in law school and provided invaluable guidance after graduation once I began to work in the field. Thanks to him, I was able to obtain a legal internship at Human Rights Watch, during law school, which got me started. Today, Dean Young has taken the next step in bringing human rights home to GW by actively supporting the establishment of the IHR Clinic. I am very excited about and committed to providing students with opportunities to work in human rights that didn't exist during my time as a student at GW Law."
The World Trade Organization, established in 1995, authorizes binding, formal dispute settlement. The system provides lawyers with an opportunity to practice in a dynamic area of international law. Lawyers inside government and in private practice now assist WTO members in framing and arguing cases in dispute settlement proceedings.
WTO dispute settlement extends to the full range of issues related to trade in goods, intellectual property rights, and services. WTO cases have dealt with key obligations determining how trade rules will create opportunities for developing countries and for exporting businesses, and how trade rules will affect governmental measures that regulate the domestic environment and protect the global commons.
Aside from inspiring scholarship on international economic law, the WTO system has opened a new world to law students. And this year, in Washington, a new competition, the Sidley-IIEL WTO Moot Court Competition, allowed students the opportunity to practice litigating WTO cases. The competition was co-sponsored by Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP and the Institute of International Economic Law at the Georgetown University Law Center. It provided a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience with and insight into the dynamic issues of trade law that confront governments, business, and the public.
The winning team of the first Sidley-IIEL WTO Moot Court Competition (from left): Ingibjorg Olof Vilhjalmsdottir, Gheiza M. Neves Dias, Marilyne Goncalves, and Patricia Madrazo Cordero
A team of four George Washington University Law School foreign LLM students won the competition, which was held at Georgetown University. Members of the winning GW team, which also received the award for "Best Written Memorial," are: Marilyne Goncalves (France), Patricia Madrazo Cordero (Mexico), Gheiza M. Neves Dias (Brazil) and Ingibjorg Olof Vilhjalmsdottir (Iceland). Professor John A. Spanogle coached the GW teams.
"These students, whose native languages are French, Spanish, Portugese and Icelandic, briefed and argued their case in English before esteemed bodies of international lawyers," says Susan L. Karamanian, associate dean for international and comparative legal studies. "They prevailed due to their persuasive skills and keen knowledge of complex international trade issues."
A second GW Law team, consisting of first-year law students Zachary E. Redman, Andrew R. McFall, Andres Perez and Michelle T. Meade also gave an impressive performance. McFall won the competition's overall award for "Best Oralist."
The organizers and judges for the competition include government officials, trade practitioners and academics experienced in WTO dispute settlement and WTO law. The competition will be held annually in Washington.
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