USPTO Director Andrei Iancu Visits Chicago-Kent
The Honorable Andrei Iancu, the under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, visited Chicago-Kent College of Law on February 19 for an engaging fireside chat moderated by Grantland Drutchas, the managing partner of McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP. MHBH and the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago’s Corporate Committee sponsored the event.
In front of a packed audience of corporate counsel, students, and professors, Iancu fielded a wide range of questions about patent law and the USPTO’s role in shaping public discourse and the law, such as for patentable subject matter, a recent area of controversy.
Iancu made clear that changing public discourse about the patent system was a top priority for his office. “Before we talk about public policy, IP policy, before we talk about implementing new laws, administering the law, and so on, before all that is the public discussion that takes place that drives all these various actions,” Iancu explained. “So, if the public discourse is focused almost entirely on faults in the system, the negative aspects of any system, then obviously the public policy that flows from that will be aimed almost entirely at addressing the perceived faults in the system as opposed to what I think would be better: to have a positive dialogue about our system. There are so many positive stories to tell about our patent system and the incredible benefits it has brought to this country since our founding.”
Iancu also explained the USPTO’s revised guidance for how it determines patentable subject matter. “I believe this is the most important substantive issue in patent law,” Iancu said as he summarized the USPTO’s revised guidance as a synthesis of cases on patentable subject matter, delineating three kinds of abstract ideas—mathematical expressions, certain methods of organizing human activities, and pure mental steps—that require a practical application to constitute patentable subject matter. Iancu defended the new guidance as being in line with Supreme Court precedent.
Center for Design, Law & Technology Explores the Meaning of Design
Chicago-Kent’s Center for Design, Law & Technology (c∆) hosted an innovative speaker series during the school year that brought in speakers from different disciplines to share their views on a single question: “What Is Design?”
In November 2018 University of Oklahoma College of Law Professor Sarah Burstein, who is a c∆ research affiliate, presented her paper titled “Whole Designs,” which examines the question of statutory subject matter of the design patent act and how we might reimagine the concept of what is a design in a holistic manner. Burstein proposes a new theory that posits that “a design for an article of manufacture is one that is directed to an entire article, not just a part thereof.”
In February 2019 the center hosted an interview with Chef Edward Kim of Chicago’s Mott Street restaurant. Kim has received distinctions from Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, and the James Beard Foundation. His first restaurant was the widely acclaimed Ruxbin. Kim is known for crafting straightforward yet progressive menus influenced by French technique and his Asian heritage. Kim discussed how he creates dishes—by trying to innovate and, ultimately, to make food taste great. Kim also explained how he came up with a new dish from a roasted pig’s head to celebrate Chinese New Year. “One of the ideas is sustainability, and also being a good cook,” explained Kim. “With a pig’s head, you have to cook, you have to actually cook … and that’s what I love about it, you have to take that thing that many people might look at it and be disgusted by it at first glance. How do you make that into something that people will crave?” Kim’s technique involved braising the pig’s head for 12 hours, scoring the skin to burn off some of the fat, and cooking it in the oven for several more hours to make the skin crispy but with “beautiful braised meat on the inside.”
In March 2019 the series continued with an interview of Felicia Ferrone, an internationally renowned designer based in Chicago. Ferrone explained her perspective on design and the design process. Ferrone’s work is deeply informed by her early experience as an architect in Milan, where she was first taught to “blur boundaries.” In 2010 she founded fferrone, her international namesake brand. In creating new designs, Ferrone typically conducts a precedent study—examining in great detail existing designs. “I do a lot of precedent studies, and I think that also comes from my architecture background as a method. It’s really kind of looking and trying to find patterns, and then find what’s not being done,” Ferrone explained. She told the audience how she designed her first glassware collection, the Revolution Collection: “It’s creating a system of objects and you can see they’re repeating proportions. … Then it cleans up the tablescape, and it also redefines it in a way that all the elements in the glassware become a graphic representation so that even if you have a sip or two, in the glass you still have that really colorful band of liquid enhancing its presence and adding to the design effect.”
c∆ will continue its research of design issues during the summer with the support of the newly appointed c∆ Student Design Fellows Adam Grodman, Thomas Key, and Edgar Matias.
Betül Serbest, Class of 2019 Valedictorian
Chicago-Kent College of Law valedictorian Betül Serbest ’19, who will join the law firm of Reed Smith LLP this fall as a litigation associate, wants to continue giving back to society as an attorney through pro bono work.
“The law can seem kind of exclusive and inaccessible to people who are under-resourced,” she said. “So to make sure that they have the resources that will give them justice in an area that they don’t have it or need it the most is something I’m really passionate about.”
Throughout her time at Chicago-Kent, Serbest has helped others. She has worked at Chicago-Kent’s Patent Hub, which matches low-income inventors to intellectual property attorneys working pro bono, and at the Self-Help Web Center at the Daley Center, aiding self-represented and under-resourced litigants to assemble legal paperwork or find legal representation. In 2013, before starting law school, she began volunteering through her uncle’s law firm as a Turkish-language interpreter for asylum seekers in their credible-fear interviews and has continued ever since.
This semester she’s working as a Public Interest Law Initiative fellow in the Adult Division of the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian, which advocates on behalf of abused and neglected children and adults with disabilities.
Serbest cites her work as a legal writing teaching assistant for first-year students as one of the most rewarding parts of her law school career. Her role was to help students with citations and writing while also providing moral support. “The highlight of my law school experience was hearing how grateful some of the students were for some of what I considered to be the basic help I provided,” she said.
As a student, she has taken full advantage of the opportunities Chicago-Kent offers, including competing on the law school’s award-winning Moot Court Honor Society team, working as a judicial extern for the Honorable Daniel J. Lynch of the Cook County Circuit Court, and serving as vice president of the Intellectual Property Law Society and social chair of the Society of Women in Law. This February her article Enhanced Patent Infringement Damages Post-Halo and the Problem with Using the Read Factors was published in Volume 94 of the Chicago-Kent Law Review.
In addition to her extracurricular activities and volunteer work, Serbest has made the dean’s list every semester and earned CALI Awards for the highest grades in her Legal Writing I; Contracts; Criminal Law; Constitution Law; and Patent Law courses.
“I can honestly say that Chicago-Kent strives to make classes and courses designed so that they are experiential and so that they do apply to your career as a lawyer once you’re out of here. For instance, the intellectual property classes I’ve taken have been extremely useful in the jobs that I have done,” Serbest said. “Furthermore, the legal writing classes here are taught in a way such that you can apply what you’ve learned in those classes to the real world.”
Born in Turkey, she grew up in the Chicago suburbs and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology. She’s active at the Kurdish Cultural Center of Illinois and served as the center’s secretary from 2016–17.
“The most valuable lesson I learned in law school is that confidence goes a long way,” she said. “I started out kind of timid, but I’ve noticed over the years I’ve grown to be a lot more confident and a lot more assertive. And I think that’s important not just in the law but in other areas of life as well.”
Selected list of Faculty Scholarship and Talks
A complete list for the faculty can be found by visiting the faculty scholarship page.
- “The Technology Enterprise,” UC Irvine Law Review (forthcoming 2019)
- “You Are What You Post: Privacy Rights in a Digital World,” University of Michigan Law School, February 26, 2019
- “Brexit and IP: The Great Unraveling?” Cardozo Law Review (2018) (with Rochelle Cooper Dreyfuss)
- “Non-Traditional Marks in Europe: Conceptual Lessons from Their Apparent Demise?” Colloquium on Innovation Law, New York University School of Law, February 20, 2019
- “Can Copyright Law Protect People from Sexual Harassment?,” Emory Law Journal (forthcoming 2019)
- “Can IP Law Protect People from Harassment?” Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property conference, Faculty of Law University of Helsinki, August 6, 2018
- “Amending Patent Claims,” Harvard Journal of Law & Technology (2018)
- Panelist for Emerging Trends in Patent Quality panel, Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century: Innovation and Intellectual Property Policy, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C., October 24, 2018
- The Privacy Fix: How to Preserve Privacy in the Onslaught of Surveillance, (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2020) (with Robert Sloan)
- “Avoiding Alien Intelligence: A Plea for Caution in the Use of Predictive Systems,” Law and Ethics of Big Data, Babson College, April 27–28, 2018
Runhua Wang, Empirical IP Fellow
- “Influence of the Development of U.S. FDA Laws on American Biomedical Innovation,” Chinese Journal of Medical Management Sciences (2019)
- “Do Tax Policies Drive Innovation by SME in China?” Conference on Empirical Legal Studies, University of Michigan Law School, November 9–10, 2018
Save the Dates for Big IP Events
August 5–6, 2019
Chicago-Kent will host the American Intellectual Property Law Association Design Rights Boot Camp program. The boot camp is a two-day comprehensive continuing legal education program designed for both new and experienced intellectual property practitioners who wish to learn about protecting and enforcing designs in all areas of IP, including design patents, copyright, and trademark dress. Global Professor of Intellectual Property Law Graeme Dinwoodie is one of the organizers.
September 20, 2019
The Honorable Donald B. Verrilli Jr., 46th solicitor general of the United States and a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson, will deliver the 2019 Supreme Court IP Review address. The 10th annual Supreme Court IP Review features the special retrospective “Taking Stock of the Past 10 Years at SCOTUS.” Scholars who would like to submit a proposal for the call for papers (the deadline is July 1, 2019), visit kentlaw.iit.edu/scipr.
March 24–26, 2020
Pamela Samuelson, the Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law and Information at the University of California, Berkeley, will visit Chicago-Kent in March 2020 to deliver the annual Charles E. Green Lecture in Law and Technology and to participate in a debate with Mark Janis, the Robert A. Lucas Chair and Professor of Law at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law. The event, which will focus on damage awards in design patent cases, will be hosted by Chicago-Kent’s Center for Design, Law & Technology.
April 3–4, 2020
Chicago-Kent will host the ninth annual International IP Roundtable, with leading scholars presenting papers on topics related to international intellectual property or comparative IP law. Professors Graeme Dinwoodie and Edward Lee of Chicago-Kent College of Law are the organizers of the event, along with founding organizers Irene Calboli, professor at Texas A&M University School of Law, and Jerry Reichman, professor at the Duke University School of Law.
Chicago-Kent Alumni Get-Together at INTA Annual Meeting!
In May 2019, a few Chicago-Kent College of Law alumni who were attending the International Trademark Association annual meeting in Boston had the chance to meet up informally and get to know each other.
The picture shows this first small group, which included, from left to right:
- Yaohong Zhang, a lawyer from China working at the law firm Fangke Law, who graduated with an LL.M. in international intellectual property law in 2019
- Cindy Quan, a lawyer from China working at Long An Law Firm, who graduated with an LL.M. in international intellectual property law in 2015
- Mariano Municoy, a lawyer from Argentina working at the law firm Moeller IP who graduated with an LL.M. in international intellectual property law in 2004
- Daniel Xinhua Wang, a lawyer from China working at the law firm China Science Patent and Trademark Agent LTD, who graduated with an LL.M. in international intellectual property law in 2012
Following the success of the May 2019 INTA alumni event, Chicago-Kent will be hosting an alumni get-together during the INTA annual meeting next year in Singapore. Anyone interested in receiving more information can contact Susan Lewers at firstname.lastname@example.org.