More than 100 clients, policymakers and law students attended the Georgetown University Law Center Conference on March 23, which focused on the theme of "the changing patent landscape." The event featured panel discussions with representatives from WilmerHale, government agencies, academia and industry, and culminated in a keynote address by Republican Congressman Darrell Issa. This year marks the third time WilmerHale has partnered with Georgetown Law to host the conference, which happens every other year.
Partner David Cavanaugh moderated the first panel of the day, which featured Intel Senior Litigation Attorney Kimberly Schmitt, as well as two speakers with experience in the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)—James Smith, a Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences judge, and Q. Todd Dickinson, former USPTO director and under secretary of commerce for intellectual property. During the panel, Smith shared that the Inter Partes Review process has found patent claims invalid in at least 80% of cases.
In the day's second session, Partners Trevor Cook and Mark Selwyn joined Jamison Lynch, associate general counsel of intellectual property litigation at Gilead Sciences, and Georgetown Law Professor Jay Thomas to discuss current strategies for worldwide patent litigation.
This was followed by a panel on patent law developments in the US Supreme Court and Federal Circuit, which included Partner Mark Fleming, USPTO Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property Law and Solicitor Nathan Kelley, and Deputy Director and Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property at the Federal Trade Commission Suzanne Munck.
In his closing remarks, Representative Issa—who owns 37 patents from his days as an entrepreneur—discussed the Innovation Act, a bill intended to cut down on lawsuits brought by patent trolls. He predicted that the bill, which the House passed last session, will move into the Senate after the Easter break.
"It was pleasing to have administrative agencies and the legislature in attendance," says Cavanaugh. "The event was a great opportunity to get all of these leaders in intellectual property together in an atmosphere where they could discuss IP issues and ask questions."
See a webcast of the conference.
(Above, top photo: Partner Greg Lantier introduces Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, the conference's keynote speaker. Bottom photo: Congressman Issa takes the stage for his keynote (left); the crowd enjoys lunch (right).)