Thursday, September 04, 2008

Report on Colorado IP Bar discussion of Prez candidates' IP policies has a report on the discussion of the presidential candidates' positions on intellectual property, from the meeting in Denver on August 27.

Chris Sprigman said that Reines' comments were "the rhetorical equivalent of vapourware".

Although the report does not mention that Obama's "gold-plated" patent (applications) are a re-cycled Lemley-ism, one is troubled that Obama's "idea" is copied from someone else. It's not a new idea or a good idea. How does that stack up to vapourware?

Separately, the backgrounds of the participants evoked some of the issues brought up by Palin on September 3: two IP attorneys (neither of them registered) for McCain and two professors (neither registered patent attorneys) for Obama. One can almost hear the word "zero" resonating in the hallway.

Correction. An earlier posting incorrectly stated there were two registered patent attorneys for McCain. It was pointed out by a UofC Law '93 that Ray Gifford, UofC Law '92 is not a registered patent attorney. Separately, both Barack and Michelle Obama have strong ties to the University of Chicago, and also note that Michelle has been listed as an IP attorney (below). Jon Dudas, USPTO director but not a patent attorney and Grey Mayer, registered patent attorney, are both UofC Law '93. Lemley did not graduate from UofC Law and is not a registered patent attorney.

To be clear on one point, LBE's issue is with the stupidity of the re-cycled Lemley-ism, not with Obama per se. Borrowing ideas from law reviews can be hazardous, as Joe Biden illustrated at Syracuse.


Daniel Sherwinter and Lucky Vidmar wrote in Intellectual Property Today:

Special Feature: Intellectual Property Policy and the Presidential Election - A Discussion on its Future by Leading Policy Advisors to the Candidates

The article noted Reines accused Obama of a general lack of foresight or success in his policies. Reines pointed to Obama’s sponsorship of a law excluding some tax-related patents, which saw a quick death in the Senate, and to Obama’s support of so-called "gold plated" patents (an idea stemming largely from an article written by Professor Mark Lemley).

Obama's "novel" ideas in innovation are re-cycled law review articles.

There is a link to a video of the Denver discussion, which is NOT Mac-friendly.

For McCain-->

Ed Reines, senior partner at the law firm of Weil, Gotshal, and Manges, immediate past president of the Federal Circuit Bar Association, and a member of Senator McCain’s Justice Advisory Committee, and Ray Gifford, partner at the law firm of Kamlet, Shepherd & Reichert.

As a footnote, a bio of Michelle Robinson Obama on womensissues notes

After graduating from Harvard Law School, Michelle joined the law firm of Sidley Austin as an associate specializing in marketing and intellectual property. Michelle met Barack at Sidley & Austin, where she was his mentor when he spent his 1L summer at Sidley. Whether they discussed IP at Sidley in the summer of 1989 is not known. Barack graduated Harvard Law in 1991. Wikipedia notes that the UofC Law School provided Obama with a fellowship and an office to work on his book. In 1996, Michelle joined the University of Chicago as associate dean of student services.

There is a very oblique reference to Michelle's Princeton thesis on the womenissues site: She was one of very few black students attending Princeton at the time, and the experience made her acutely aware of the issues of race.

UPDATE. Patent Docs discusses the Colorado meeting in a post on 14 Oct 08-->

Fortunately, the portion of the electorate that may be interested in the Senators' views on U.S. patent policy need not rely solely on the nominal information being presented on the candidates' websites. Instead, patent practitioners, assignees, and inventors are encouraged to watch the panel discussion, sponsored by the Colorado Bar Association, that took place in Denver on August 28th. The discussion, entitled "Intellectual Property Policy and the Presidential Election: A Discussion on its Future by Leading Policy Advisors to the Candidates," brought together two representatives from each of the candidates' campaigns to address patent, copyright, and antitrust issues.

Patent Docs notes Artie Rai is a former classmate of Senator Obama's at Harvard Law School and IPBiz notes that Chris Sprigman is a former classmate of Jon Dudas at Chicago.

Patent Docs states: While Senator Obama received some attention last November concerning the concept of "gold-plated" patents (see "Mitt Romney on Patents"), neither the Senator's website nor his 83-page "Blueprint for Change" (available at his website) make any mention of such patents.

Attempted post on 15 Oct -->

Of the text --neither the Senator's website nor his 83-page "Blueprint for Change" (available at his website) make any mention of such [gold-plated] patents.-- please note that the Obama site DOES make mention of "gold-plated" patents. This and some other matters are discussed in the post at Intellectual Property Today on 26 Sept 08 titled On Aspects of Barack Obama’s Technology Policy available at A version will appear in the Nov. 2008 issue of Intellectual Property Today.


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