In reaction to Congress passing the historic Patent Reform Act on Sept. 16, the School of Law is hosting a pair of symposiums this week. They will debate the jurisdiction and implications of patent law and intellectual property rights. The reform act is considered to be the biggest overhaul of patent law in nearly 60 years.
Beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13 at the Law School’s E.E. Tom Thompson Courtroom, the Joseph Cohen Lecture Fund will present “Do Gene Patents Kill? The Controversy Surrounding DNA Patenting,” a forum about the morality of gene patents.
Some legal commentators believe gene patents provide funding incentives for medical research, but others contend that intellectual property rights should not govern the subject.
Daniel B. Ravicher and Hans Sauer will debate the topic at the forum.
As executive director of the Public Patent Foundation, Ravicher recently joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to file a lawsuit that would invalidate thousands of gene patents issued by the Patent Office. He was also named one of the 50 Most Influential People in IP by Managing Intellectual Property magazine.
In opposition, Sauer is deputy general counsel for Intellectual Property for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, which maintains its support for gene patents, as incentives for researchers and investors.
On Friday, Oct. 14, the School of Law will shift its analytical focus to the general effect of the Patent Reform Act at the symposium “Fueling Innovation: Hot Topics in Patent Law and Policy,” from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Thompson Courtroom.
Speakers include Christal Sheppard, who worked as counsel for the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on the patent reform legislation. Mark Rohrbaugh, from the NIH Office of Technology Transfer, will also attend, along with other leading figures, including Judge Nanette Laughrey of the Western District of Missouri.