Tuesday, February 10, 2015

          What's Hot in IP?

          Professors encourage students to specialize in intellectual property areas like trade secret and trade dress law.
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          Hastings Intellectual Property Association Vice President 2L Christine Doelling and 2L Alex Hadduck, who organized the event.

          On February 9, 2015, Professor and Wilson Sonsini Partner Tait Graves ‘98 and Professor Dana Beldiman spoke to students about “What’s Hot in IP.” 

          Organized by Hastings Intellectual Property Association President 2L Alex Hadduck, the session was aimed at helping students understand growing specialties within the field of intellectual property.

          Professor Graves spoke about his area of expertise: trade secret law. What was once a practice area under employment law that dealt mainly with small companies suing each other has exploded in the past two decades. Trade secret cases aren’t as high profile as patent or copyright violation cases, he explained, but businesses report that because trade secrets are implicated in every aspect of a company’s operation, they are perhaps even more important. “We will see more attorneys with trade secret expertise,” Graves said.  “It’s a good way to distinguish yourself as you join a practice, and one of many ways you can broaden your subject matter beyond the usual patent law.”

          Professor Beldiman spoke about the ramifications of trade dress law in the context of graphical user interfaces. She discussed how as more money goes into Web sites, mobile apps, wearable technology and the Internet of Things, more money goes into their development, so they become significant intellectual property for a company. When a competitor copies part of another’s site, there are lots of opportunities to apply trademark law. “As it stands now, this field is a lawyer’s dream,” Beldiman stated. “There are lots of graphical user interfaces --every company has a website-- and many of them get infringed.”

          Students left feeling encouraged about IP opportunities. Hadduck, who is pursuing patent litigation and will be spending the summer at Morrison Foerster, said that UC Hastings is the perfect place to study IP. “We have great faculty in the field, cool clinics, and our student organization HIPA puts on several panels a year with faculty and prominent IP lawyers,” he said.

          Next up? HIPA is organizing a mixer on March 26 in the 100 MacAllister Sky Room for students to meet with local IP attorneys.

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