I have missed the first few presenters in the Chicago-Kent & Loyola University Chicago IP Colloquium, but the next presentation is set for tomorrow, Tuesday, April 8, in Room 305 at Kent at 4:10 pm. Professor R. Polk Wagner of the University of Pennsylvania Law School will discuss his article Did Phillips Change Anything? The article poses a question that should interest all patent litigators and I am sure there will be a lively discussion.
The Chicago Tribune ran three law-related, non-IP stories that are worth a read over the weekend:
A profile of Jenner & Block’s new managing partner Susan Levy — click here for the story;
A long story on the disparity in starting legal salaries and the consistency in law school tuition rates — click here for the story; and
An excerpt by Chicago attorney R. Eugene Pincham, who died Thursday, from Your Witness: Lessons on Cross-Examination and Life from Great Chicago Trial Lawyers, which goes on sale Monday at www.yourwitnessbook.com — click here for the story. The essay details how Pincham prepared for trial and is a must read for all trial attorneys. Pincham’s excerpt got my attention. I will be getting a copy of the book and will post a review when I am done with it. Here is how the Tribune described Pincham:
a pioneering African-American lawyer and champion of unpopular causes. His colorful oratory, which drew on personal history, made him a legend in Chicago courthouses.

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There is a debate brewing in the patent litigation community over the correct scope of a state institution’s waiver of 11th Amendment immunity when that institution asserts its patents. In Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Ed. Expense Bd. v. College Savings Bank, 527 U.S. 627 (1999), the Supreme Court held that state institutions were immune from patent infringement suits. Of course, if a state institution asserts a patent claim against a party, immunity is generally waived as to that party for counterclaims. But the Federal Circuit recently held in BPMC v. California Dept. of Health (Fed. Cir. 2007), that when the California Department of Health (“Cal. DoH”) intervened as a plaintiff in a patent suit (which is considered a waiver of immunity), it is only a waiver as to that suit. So, when the original suit was dismissed because of improper venue, the waiver was rescinded. As a result, the defendant in the first case, BPMC, could not bring a declaratory judgment suit that mirrored the original suit because of the Cal. DoH’s 11th Amendment immunity.
The Federal Circuit’s decision has ignited substantial controversy (click here for the WSJ Law Blog’s article on the subject and click here for IP Biz’s responsive blog post) and some are predicting that this will be the next patent case that the Supreme Court takes on cert. It is an interesting issue, but not one that we see often in the Northern District, which caused me to investigate whether Chicago-area colleges are prolific patentees. None makes the top ten, like my alma mater the University of Michigan – Go Blue! But there is some substantial patenting going on at Chicago-area universities. The following chart show the number of patents assigned to the identified universities or their related entities between 1969 and 2005:
Chicago-Area University Utility Patents 1969-2005 School Patents
U of Chicago 309
IIT 59
Loyola, Chicago 33
Northwestern 370
U of Illinois 552
As you can see from the chart, this issue has significant consequences for Chicago-area schools. I will keep you posted as the case develops.

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Last Wednesday the Chicago IP Alliance held its second annual Chicago IP Day at Loyola.  It was, no surprise, an excellent program providing an information-packed day.  I do not have the time to summarize all of the presentations, but I will give some highlights.  George McAndrews, McAndrews, Held & Malloy, gave a very interesting presentation outlining his views on the Supreme Court’s recent eBay v. MercExchange opinion requiring the use of the standard permanent injunction test to determine whether a permanent injunction should be granted after a patent infringement judgment.  Essentially, he argued that the Supreme Court’s ruling contradicts the constitutional grant of a limited monopoly.  His presentation led to some spirited debate at various tables during the excellent lunch in Loyola’s beautiful new conference room atop the law school.

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Wednesday, February 7 is IP Day in Chicago.  This annual event at Loyola (where I previously taught Legal Writing) will focus on a hot topic for IP litigators — the Supreme Court’s recent active role in defining intellectual property law.  You can see from the event brochure that the day is full of great speakers

Chicago-Kent College of Law and Loyola University Chicago School of Law  (where I previously served as an Adjunct Professor of Legal Writing) are jointly sponsoring and hosting the Chicago Intellectual Property Colloquium.  The Colloquium brings six nationally renowned IP scholars to Chicago to discuss their current IP research. The presentations look very interesting.  They start January 30th and run through April on Tuesday afternoons (schedule after the jump).  Each lasts just under two hours and they rotate between Kent and Loyola.  

Attendance is by invitation only.  If you would like an invitation, contact Patricia O’Neal at Kent — poneal@kentlaw.edu.  I will be attending as many as I can and blogging about them afterward.  If you see me, please say "hello."

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