Tailoring Rights to Industries in Intellectual Property

On July 20, 2007 the conference "Tailoring Rights to Industries in Intellectual Property" took place at the University of Augsburg, organized by the University of Augsburg and the George Washington University Law School, along with the MIPLC and the Center for Continuing Education and Knowledge Development (ZWW).

The conference discussions revolved around the pharmaceutical and software industries, both of which have used intellectual property rights extensively but in differing ways and with differing results. Each speaker touched on the relevance of IP to these industries, particularly the pharmaceutical industry, from both a policy standpoint and a practical standpoint. Most importantly, the speakers suggested ways in which the IP system could be changed to remedy deficiencies inherent in the current IP-industry regimes in Europe and the Unites States. Indeed, as Professor Carroll from Villanova pointed out, a one-size-fits-all approach to IP might not be the most useful way of designing an IP system.

Keynote Speakers were Professor Laura Bradford (then at The George Washington University Law School), Professor Michael W. Carroll (Villanova University School of Law), Professor Ulrich Gassner (University of Augsburg), Professor Michael Kort (University of Augsburg), and Professor Michael S. Mireles (University of Denver).

During the afternoon session, the key issues were heavily debated by the panel which included top academics and practitioners from the IP community, such as Professor Christoph Ann (Technische Universität München), Dr. Jürgen Kroher (attorney-at-law, Kroher & Strobel, Munich), and Wolfgang von Meibom (attorney-at-law, Düsseldorf, Chairman of Bird & Bird’s offices in Germany and Joint Head of the firm’s International Intellectual Property Group).

To conclude the day’s deliberations, an open discussion took place between the speakers, the panelists and the participants at large about the core themes and issues of the conference. There were a great variety of opinions as to whether and to what extent the structure of the IP system needed altering. However, all participants agreed that no matter whether it remained uniform or variegated across industries, the current IP system would remain important and would increase in significance for industry in the future.