One aspect of intellectual property law that routinely garners attention in the media is the phenomenon of so-called “patent trolls.” These individuals and groups have been in the public eye for years, and continue to pose important questions for the patent law community. The media of examines the phenomenon and characterize them as organizations that exist solely to litigate and collect on patent infringement cases, a position that some believe poses a challenge to the very purpose of a patent system that aims “to promote the progress of science.”

On October 8, Ryan Holte, an assistant professor of law at the Southern Illinois University School of Law, will speak at a program on patent trolls jointly sponsored by the Federalist Society and Intellectual Property Law Society.  Professor Holte teaches general intellectual property and patent focused courses; researches patent law extensively; and has written a number of articles on the topic, including his most recent piece: “The Misinterpretation of eBay v. MercExchange and Why: An Analysis of the Case History, Precedent, and Parties.” [18 Chapman L. Rev. 677 (2015)]

Professor Holte’s visit provides students with a great opportunity to learn more about the rapidly developing field that is modern patent law.  He will discuss what he has identified as a misinterpretation of NPE's and PAE’s role in the patent litigation field and the possible way forward. Professor Holte presentation will question the identification of these groups as "bad actors" and inquiry into the role they play in continuing to represent small inventors. After Professor Holte presents his thoughts, Iowa Law’s Professor Rantanen will comment, offering his thoughts on the existence and nature of patent trolls in the modern patent landscape.

There is no shortage of opportunities for students interested in the high profile and legally charged field of intellectual property to engage with members of the academic and professional community this fall.   Among other events, the Iowa Intellectual Property Law Association annual meeting will take place at the law school on October 2, and the ongoing Innovation, Business and Law Colloquium is bringing top scholars to the school every other week.  Professor Holte’s talk will add another expert voice to the robust discussion about intellectual property law in the Boyd Law Building. 

                                                                                                                                                                                    -- Peter Kline | Aug. 13, 2015