Friday, January 17, 2014

Thinkers & Doers: Jan. 17, 2014

Professors Robin Feldman and Scott Dodson, Ida O. Abbott '75, Jennifer Granick '93, Fellow Brian Pascal, 3L Jackie Nicora, 2L Corey Arnold.
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Official White House photo of President Barack Obama, by Pete Souza

Jennifer Granick '93, Fellow Brian Pascal

Institute for Innovation Law fellow Brian Pascal (@bhpascal) and Jennifer Granick ’93 (@granick) were quoted by Ars Technica about President Obama’s new limits on the NSA.

In a speech Jan. 17, Obama outlined his plans to reform intelligence gathering practices. But Pascal noted there was a lot left unsaid in Obama’s speech.

“Some of the most disturbing revelations that came out over the last few months were the ones surrounding the NSA's attempts to weaken or circumvent encryption protocols,” Pascal, a fellow with the Institute for Innovation Law, told Ars. "There was no mention of limiting these activities in the president's speech. The trouble here is that, in general, the ‘good guys' use the same encryption technologies as the ‘bad guys.’ You can't attack one without harming the other.”

Jennifer Granick“The measures President Obama laid out are not enough,” Granick, the director of Civil Liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, told Ars. “Obama himself recognizes that. Post-collection rules are an ongoing process. To my mind, they are not a solution, but a band-aid."

She continued. "The problem remains, now that our technological capabilities are so vast, if we allow bulk collection and mass surveillance, do we have the knowledge to (1) find actionable intelligence in the morass and (2) ensure civil liberties are not violated? We have a bad track record on both those imperative goals."

Read more from Ars Technica on the NSA here.

Robin Feldman

Professor Robin Feldman was quoted in Technology Transfer Tactics warning universities to think twice before they get into bed with PAEs, or patent assertion entities, also derisively called patent trolls.

Robin FeldmanFeldman’s research shows one in three start-up companies has faced patent demands, with most coming from PAEs. The negative image of PAEs should make universities wary of selling their IP to them. She also noted that monetization through PAEs runs counter to the mission of a university and tech transfer programs, because they stifle the commercialization of academic research.

“The concern with many PAEs is that they are a dead end for invention,” she told the publication. “There are very few new products that come out of the economic activity associated with a PAE. Technology transfer offices should consider whether this transfer will likely lead to new products. I worry that the concern is simply dollars in the door.”

Read more in Technology Transfer Tactics here.

Scott Dodson

Civil Procedure Professor Scott Dodson (@ProfDodson) was quoted by Bloomberg BNA's Law Week about the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Hoschar v. Appalachian Power Co., which deal with corporate “nerve centers.”

“Hoschar presents a case that is probably on the most difficult side of the balance. Substantial operations were directed from both West Virginia and Ohio.

“Diversity law required that a corporation have only one ‘nerve center.’ However, based on the evidence taken by the district court, I think the federal court got this one right.”

Read Law Week here (subscription required).

Ida O. Abbott '75 

Ida O. Abbott ’75 has a new book out, “Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know.” Reviewer Jorge A. del Calvo, a partner with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, wrote: “While Ida Abbott’s thoughtful book provides a framework to understand the complexities, it is above all a practical book, providing tools that will be useful to managers — men and women — who recognize that advancement and retention of women will benefit their organizations. Helpful to anyone who cares about the issue and is in a position to do something about it.”

3L Jackie Nicora and 2L Corey Arnold

3L Jackie Nicora and 2L Corey Arnold are organizing UC Hastings’ effort to offer free tax preparation assistance to low-income residents.

Last year, the program helped 134 tax filers recoup more than $100,000 in refunds. Read more about this longstanding pro bono program here.

--Jan. 17, 2014

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