Scope of IP Rights Roundtable Brings Experts to Notre Dame Law School

Leading intellectual property scholars will gather Friday at Notre Dame Law School for a roundtable on various dimensions of the scope of IP rights.

The roundtable will be structured around five papers that focus on some aspect of the scope question, including papers on the scope of protection offered to super-strong trademarks, difficulties with the methodologies of claiming design, copyright duration, the ways different IP regimes screen out functional features, and copyright’s approach to functional compilations.

“Every area of IP law has doctrines of validity and infringement that determine whether you own something and how far the rights extend, and there’s often a mismatch between them,” said Mark McKenna, professor of law and associate dean for faculty and research development, and organizer of the roundtable. “We wanted to organize a roundtable where every paper is related to scope, but different parts of the law.”

The roundtable is also a teaching opportunity, with some students joining the discussion throughout the day.

“When you put 15 people in a room, you get a richer, more engaged discussion,” McKenna said. “It allows you to figure out where there’s agreement. When you pick papers that have the same focus but different topics, you allow the papers to inform each other.”

McKenna said small roundtable discussions like this one act as a complement to larger conferences. The in-depth analysis of scholarly work by others in the field is valuable, he said.

The roundtable is co-sponsored by Notre Dame Law School and the Research Program on Law and Market Behavior.