Happy New Year from the Iowa Innovation, Business and Law Center! 2016 was a busy year for the Center.  Our sponsored programming continues to grow as we focus on our three core mission areas of enhancing student learning opportunities, exposure to work from other fields that intersects with the law, and engagement with cutting-edge issues in law and technology.  Below is a brief summary of events and other programs the Center supported this year.

Visiting Speakers

The IBL Center hosted several speakers this year with the Intellectual Property Law Society student group.  In the spring, Professor Matthew Sag of Loyola-Chicago Law School spoke about his research on the rise of copyright trolling.  During the fall semester, Professor Sarah Burstein talked about her proposal for addressing the issue of damages in design patent cases and Professor Timothy Holbrook presented on the challenges 3D printing poses for patent law (and how the law might address them).  These events, and others, are funded by a gift in memory of David M. Hellwege, JD ’73.

In addition to its regular lineup of speakers, the College of Law hosted the Honorable Kathleen M. O’Malley of the United States Court of Appeals in early April.  During her visit, Judge O’Malley participated in a flurry of events including a talk to the IP Law Society on the history of the Federal Circuit, an open lecture on appellate advocacy, a reception and dinner with local intellectual property law practitioners, and a session on judicial clerkships.

IP Advocacy

Last year’s IP Advocacy teams enjoyed substantial success, with the team of Alex Lodge and Tyler Latcham winning the Midwest regional competition and advancing to the national Giles Sutherland Rich Patent Law Moot Court competition in Washington D.C. 

This year, IP Advocacy teams are competing in the Giles Rich Patent Law competition in Chicago, the Cardozo/BMI Entertainment and Communications Law competition, and the Kaufman Securities Law competition in New York.  Professor Bohannan continues to work with the students to develop their written and oral advocacy skills, and in October the teams received a crash-course on advanced appellate advocacy techniques from Charles Verhoeven, JD ‘88. Over the next few months, students will be drafting briefs for these competitions and preparing for their oral arguments in Chicago and New York City. 

The success of the IP Advocacy program depends in large part on lawyer-volunteers who provide feedback on the briefs (where allowed) and bench practice oral arguments for the competitions.  If you are interested in participating, please contact Christina Bohannan at Christina-bohannan@uiowa.edu

 Iowa Medical Innovation Group

This year I transitioned into teaching the Iowa Medical Innovation Group with Charlie Damschen, JD ‘07.  The Iowa Medical Innovation Group (IMIG) is an interdisciplinary course that tasks teams of students from law, medicine, engineering, and business with designing and, if possible, prototyping a technological solution to a medical problem, as well as working out the legal and business issues surrounding that new technology. 

During the 2016-17 academic year, seven law students are participating in IMIG.  The law students meet as a group every other week to discuss legal problems and hear from experts in the areas that they are working on. I have also implemented a mentoring attorney component to the course.  If you are interested in serving as a mentor to the law students on an IMIG team, please let me know at Jason-rantanen@uiowa.edu.

IBL Colloquium

This fall, the College of Law continued its Innovation, Business and Law Colloquium, a scholarship-focused course that allows students to engage directly with leading scholars studying problems of corporate, intellectual property, and antitrust law.  This year’s Colloquium featured six scholars who presented works related to the topic of “The Private Law of Privacy.”  Colloquium speakers included Danielle Citron, who presented Privacy Policymaking of State Attorneys General, William McGeveran, who presented Friending the Privacy Regulators, and Jay Kesan, who presented Analyzing the Current Cyberinsurance Market.

Iowa Law Intellectual Property Law Society

The Iowa Law Intellectual Property Law Society (IPLS) is a student-run organization for students interested in intellectual property law.  The 2016-17 IPLS board consists of Brianna Chamberlin (president), Sarah Dickhut and Tyler Latcham (co-vice presidents), Sarah Jack (treasurer), Megan Hingtgen (event coordinator), Lauren Taylor (public relations), and Sam Crocker (1L representative).  The IBL Center provides financial support for the IPLS and collaborates on many events, including visiting speakers.  

In addition to co-sponsoring speakers and hosting networking events, the IPLS organizes several programs to help students in their career development.  This fall, the IPLS held a program on summer internships in September and an intellectual property law career panel in October.  The career panel allowed current law students to speak with alumni who practice in the areas of patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets.  I’d like to thank Allison Kerndt, JD ’05; Scott Claire, JD ’04; Charles Verhoeven, JD ’88; Steven Baird, JD ’90, and Alexandra Olson, JD ‘09 for participating in the alumni panel this year, as well as Adia May, JD ‘01, who spoke about her practice as an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles earlier in the year.  During the spring semester, the IPLS will host programming on the Loyola Patent Fair and co-sponsor several speakers on intellectual property law topics. 

As in previous years, the IPLS provided mentoring support by matching first-year law students with second and third-year students who study in areas that the first-year students are interested in pursuing. 

If you are interested in speaking to current law students about your own career, please get in touch with myself and Brianna Chamberlin (Brianna-chamberlin@uiowa.edu).

Summer Stipends

Each year, the Center awards several stipends to law students doing unpaid legal work in intellectual property, technology, corporate or business law, antitrust, health law, and related fields.  This year the Center awarded three stipends to students interning in the area of health law.

Innovation, Business and Law Award

The Innovation, Business and Law Award is given to a graduating law student who has contributed to the mission of the IBL Center and whose performance in the areas of innovation and business law has demonstrated the highest level of excellence. The recipient of the 2016 Innovation, Business and Law Award was Alex Lodge.  Prior to matriculating at the College of Law, Dr. Lodge earned a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Iowa.  During his time at the College of Law, Dr. Lodge served as the president of the Intellectual Property Law Society, competed in the Giles S. Rich Patent Moot Court competition, winning the Midwest regional competition in 2016, and received the 2016 Hancher-Finkbine Professional Student Medallion.  After graduating from Iowa Law, Dr. Lodge joined the firm of Foley & Lardner LLP in Madison, Wisconsin.  You can read more about this extraordinary law student here.

New IBL Center Faculty Member

Mihailis Diamantis recently joined the College of Law faculty as an Associate Professor of Law.  He specializes in corporate criminal law.  Prior to joining the College of Law, Professor Diamantis was an instructor and researcher at Columbia Law School, clerked for Judge Alex Kozinski on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced as an attorney with the firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.

University of Iowa Research Foundation Hires Patent Attorney

This summer, Paula DeGrandis joined the University of Iowa Research Foundation (UIRF) as Associate Director of Intellectual Property.  Ms. DeGrandis is an experienced patent attorney, with years of practice as in-house and outside counsel.  Beginning this coming semester, she will be supervising students working in the UIRF as part of the law school’s field placement externship program.

Upcoming IBL Center Events

The IBL Center is excited to host multiple speakers this spring, several of which will provide CLE credit (subject to approval).  The first event will be on January 27 at 12:30, when Professor Christopher Beauchamp will speak on his recent book Invented by Law: Alexander Graham Bell and the Patent that Changed America.  (If you are looking for a somewhat related but fictional book, Professor Beauchamp also consulted on Graham Moore’s The Last Days of Night, a novel about Paul Cravath, George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison.  It’s an electric read.)

On April 18, the IBL Center will co-host Professor Arti Rai with the Iowa Institute for Human Genetics.  Professor Rai is an internationally recognized expert on intellectual property law and innovation and biotechnology policy.  Her work has been published in Science, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of Legal Studies, and numerous law reviews.  She also served as the Administrator of the Office of External Affairs at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from 2009-2010.

The final speaker of the semester will be Professor Jake Linford, an expert on trademark law.  His recent work has focused on developing a better understanding of trademark distinctiveness through the use of linguistic methodologies.  He will visit the College of Law on April 21 for a lecture co-sponsored with the IPLS.

Additional events are in the works.  Visit the IBL Center’s website to keep up to date with additional programming.  If you’re in town, we hope you can join us.

Jason Rantanen, ​January 13, 2017