HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Invitation to Sixth Annual IP Scholars Forum on the Impact of IP on Public Health

June 13, 2012

Dear Professor:

You are cordially invited to the Sixth Annual IP Scholars Forum, sponsored by the University of Akron School of Law’s Center for Intellectual Property & Technology, which will be held at the law school on Friday, October 26, 2012, from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

The Forum’s purpose is to bring together a small group of prominent scholars for intensive, high-level discussions on cutting-edge issues of common interest. This year’s Forum will discuss “The Impact of IP on Public Health.”

This topic will celebrate the arrival of a new member of our faculty, Katharine Van Tassel, who comes to us from Western New England College of Law and St. Thomas University School of Law in Florida.  She has extensive experience in health law issues and serves as the editor of the Health Law Prof Blog. Professor Jay Dratler, Jr., although retired, will moderate the Forum with her help.

Because our topic this year is interdisciplinary, we have invited a number of noted health law scholars individually.  So far, the following professors have accepted our invitation:

• Frank Pasquale (Seton Hall University School of Law), Schering-Plough Professor in Health Care Regulation and Enforcement and an executive member of the AALS section on Law, Medicine, and Health Care.  Professor Pasquale has written many articles on health law and IP and is a frequent blogger on  Concurring Opinions,, and HealthLawProf Blog.  His “short admission paper” (see below) will be entitled “The Emerging Intellectual Property Law of Health Data.”  It will focus on the barriers to health-data transparency that IP creates, and how regulation and incentives can break them down.

• Andrew Torrance (University of Kansas School of Law), former chair of the AALS Biolaw Section, founder of the Lexvivo blog, and co-founder of the Biolaw blog.  Professor Torrance has spoken and written often on biotechnology and intellectual property.  His short paper will be entitled “Nothing under the Sun that is Made of Man.”  It will focus on the  Supreme Court’s recent Prometheus decision and the patentability of genetic sequences, body fluids, body parts, and research and diagnostic methods that use them.

• Jim Chen (University of Louisville – Louis D. Brandeis School of Law), former dean of the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, founder of the Jurisdynamics Network, and frequent blogger at the Biolaw blog.  Professor Chen is an expert on law, economics, and regulatory policy.  His short paper will address the intersection of IP with biodiversity and traditional knowledge.

As these examples show, the scope of discussion at this Forum can be quite broad.  Other possible topics include: the relationship between biodiversity and pharmaceutical research, compulsory licensing of pharmaceuticals, incentivizing R&D for “orphan drugs” and neglected diseases, open science, international exhaustion for pharmaceuticals, the national-emergency and other exceptions to patent enforcement, reverse payment settlements in pharmaceutical litigation, the newly passed gag laws in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Texas restricting doctors’ use of data on gas “fracking” chemicals, and the recently-introduced S. 1138, which would replace patents on HIV/AIDS treatments with prizes.

As usual, the only admission price is a short paper (10-15 pages, with minimal footnotes) on some aspect of the Forum topic.  If you attend, you should distribute your paper by e-mail about a month prior to the Forum.  Papers will not be formally presented at the Forum.  Instead, we will engage in free-flowing discussion based on the Forum topic and the papers submitted.  For those who would like to do so, we will arrange for papers to be published in symposium format in our Akron IP Journal.
If you wish, you may write on one of the topics addressed by our distinguished individual invitees.  Overlapping papers on the same subject may help provoke active discussion.  But if you wish to do so, we encourage you make personal contact and avoid complete overlap.

One other thing is new this year.  We are planning to publish a summary of our discussion, both online and in print, as a “White Paper.”  Our own Professor Ryan Vacca has volunteered to serve as the first reporter and to prepare a draft for circulation and review.  We expect this online summary to appear no later than sixty days after the Forum and to be printed in the spring issue of the Akron IP Journal.
As usual, we are unable to pay travel expenses.  However, we will provide a reception and dinner on the evening before the Forum and a light breakfast and lunch on the day of the Forum.

Following the Forum, at 3:00 PM, Professors Pasquale, Torrance, and Chen will offer a panel discussion to a much larger audience.  Invitees will include faculty from regional academic institutions, public-health community leaders, and lawyers and business people interested in health care and related innovation. Your attendance at this panel discussion will, of course, be most welcomed, and we hope you will contribute to this more public discussion.

If you choose to join us, we can arrange housing at a unique on-campus hotel made from old oat silos, which the University has acquired.  If you wish, we can also arrange recreational activities in the area, with such attractions as the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Cleveland Orchestra, or the Football or Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  Although Northeast Ohio never provides a guarantee, we often have crisp, clear and bracing fall weather at that time of year.

As noted above, the Forum and the subsequent panel discussion will both be held on Friday, October 26, 2012, and an informal collegial dinner will be held the previous evening.  Attendance will be limited to permit intimate discussion, so please respond soon.  You may r.s.v.p. to Shannon Aupperle, at


Jeffrey M. Samuels
David L. Brennan Professor of Law
and Director, Center of Intellectual
Property Law and Technology

Jay Dratler, Jr.
Goodyear Professor Intellectual Property, Emeritus
Katharine Van Tassel
Professor of Law
A. Samuel Oddi
Giles Sutherland Rich Professor
in Intellectual Property
Ryan Vacca
Assistant Professor of Law
Robert C. Kahrl
Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence

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