Of talks and tapeworms: Fordham comes to Cambridge

The IPKat's friend Louise O'Callaghan (Pupil, Hardwicke Building), who had the good fortune to attend this year's Fordham IP conference, gives us an illustrated perspective on it. She writes:

"The 17th Annual Fordham IP Conference held in Cambridge on 15th and 16th April boasted an impressive list participants and speakers this year. According to its website, Fordham seeks to provide “a comprehensive review and analysis of today's cutting-edge issues in intellectual property law” and the 2009 programme succeeded in delivering just that.

Speakers came from a wide range of backgrounds, producing a diverse and highly informed take on a number of topics, all with a distinctly IP flavour. The majority of seminars were split into groups relating specifically to Trade mark, patent or copyright Issues. Speakers included prominent members of the judiciary, such as Lord Hoffmann and Lord Justice Jacob from the UK and the Hon. Randall R. Rader from the US. Panel members also included general counsel from industry, including Google, Time Warner PRS, News Corp and Microsoft, to name but a few. Merpel was overjoyed to hear that they even let the academics in to stir things up! This list is not exhaustive: the full list of attendees can be found here.

Topics up for discussion ranged from multilateral and bilateral relations, the role of the Judiciary in shaping IP policy, Web 2.0 exceptions and limitations, comparative damages in copyright, acquisition of evidence in patent cases, right of publicity/ privacy for trade mark (on day one) to enforcement and counterfeiting, patent law developments in Japan and US v China in WTO on day two, ending with a particularly lively talk chaired by Dr Tilman Luder (Head of the Copyright Unit for the European Commission) on the Information Society Directive, DRM, DMCA, Private Copy Levies, Secondary Liability.

The General Council Roundtable also made for interesting listening, the topics of ‘the perception problem’, ‘IP theft’ and the ‘IP Crisis’ being high on the agenda. This session also produced the ‘most quoted quote of a quote’ of the Conference, that being news aggregators are “parasites or tech tapeworms in the intestines of the Internet”. In the same session there was an out-and-out attack on the newsworthiness of blogs, and (as I’m sure Tufty is keen to note) blogging culture was (almost) blamed for the entire decline of the news industry and the ‘death of journalism’. But fear not, Tufty! I’m sure those responsible didn’t mean such fine blogs as the IPKat ...


In light of the recent decision in Pirate Bay is it worth observing that the diverse background of speakers and participants alike produced equally diverse views on the way to tackle copyright infringement effectively. These views ranged from a ‘do-nothing approach’, to ‘do-something-but-recognise-what-is-being-done-already’, to ‘for-God's-sake-lets-stop-them-from-doing-that-any-get them-to-do-this!’ approach.

Overall, Hugh Hansen (left) and Fordham have produced another fine Conference facilitating an opportunity for the meeting of IP minds from across the profession. As Adam Smith (1723-1790) once said: “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices” (Thanks to Trevor Callaghan, Senior Product Counsel at Google for the quote). Well, I can happily report there was no conspiracy at Fordham, just plenty of shared ideas and a whole heap of merriment!

(Further thanks to Scott the Photographer for his wonderful pictures of the event)".

Of talks and tapeworms: Fordham comes to Cambridge Of talks and tapeworms: Fordham comes to Cambridge Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. (Photo lower left corner) Marlon Brando attended? Bit like an Elvis sighting. http://tinyurl.com/ch7tyy


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