Committee Chair Corner - Intellectual Property Committee
Ellis & Winters LLP
The Intellectual Property Committee is one of the IADC’s newest Substantive Law Committees. While the IADC prepares for its Centennial Celebration in 2020, the Intellectual Property Committee will celebrate its fourth birthday in Lisbon. For two of those years, it has been my distinct pleasure to serve as the Committee Chair.
Since its inception, our small but growing Committee has been working to define the ways in which the Committee can best meet the intellectual property litigation needs of its members. Through its programs, newsletters, Webinars, and special projects, the Intellectual Property Committee has addressed litigation trends and issues in patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret law. Our Committee is client-focused. While there are some members whose primary practice is intellectual property, there are also many members who, as corporate counsel or as outside counsel to various corporations, routinely encounter intellectual property challenges in company marketing practices, contract negotiations, or trade secret disputes.
The Intellectual Property Committee has sponsored programs at our Annual and Midyear Meetings which have featured corporate counsel from various industries. In 2017, we focused on the sporting goods industry. In 2018, we hosted various legal counsel from the entertainment industry. In 2019, we will feature a panel of corporate counsel from the music industry. In each of these programs, we have asked the question every lawyer should be asking of its clients: What is keeping you up at night? Our guests have shared with the IADC the issues they have faced every day as they navigate through technology changes, government regulation, and data privacy concerns, all in the context of protecting their innovations.
Our Committee has also sought to make it part of its mission to educate the IADC membership on intellectual property issues. The Committee has accomplished this through programs highlighting the situations where intellectual property challenges arise, in what contexts they are often overlooked, and how intellectual property disputes are best presented to a jury.
Last summer, we sponsored a game show in which panelists tried to identify commonly overlooked intellectual property issues. In July, our Committee will feature four of IADC’s accomplished trial lawyers in a program designed to demonstrate key elements of intellectual property litigation. Mark Beebe, Neville Boschert, Jennifer Doan, and Deborah St. Lawrence Thompson will battle before a mock jury, presenting arguments on two famous trademark disputes. After the jury renders its verdict, the panelists will lead a discussion on the challenges in prosecuting or defending trademark claims, and on how to advise clients embroiled in such disputes.
In addition to the above programs, the Intellectual Property Committee is preparing a Webinar on common legal issues created by non-disclosure agreements.
“Small but mighty” is how the Intellectual Property Committee leadership likes to refer to itself, as the accomplishments of our Committee over the past four years have been a result of the efforts of a small core group of Committee members. Rather than accept that moniker as a compliment, the Committee has considered it a challenge to grow. Over the coming year, we will look to expand our leadership to better meet the needs of the IADC membership.
This is where you come in. If you are looking for an opportunity to become more engaged in the IADC and to connect with other members, the Intellectual Property Committee wants you. Because the Committee is relatively young, there are numerous opportunities for those who are looking for leadership roles or to participate in programming. As we all know, IADC’s membership is a solid network of contacts for attorney-to-attorney referrals around the country, and involvement in the Intellectual Property Committee can provide even more opportunities to meet other attorneys. Please do not be deterred if intellectual property litigation is not what you do. There are many members of the Committee who practice in other areas of the law.
We hope you will consider joining the monthly calls, or reaching out to Sandra Wunderlich (firstname.lastname@example.org), the incoming Chair, or me to express your interest in becoming more involved. Additionally, I encourage you to visit our Committee page and see our complete list of Committee leadership: https://www.iadclaw.org/get-involved/committees/. We will find an opportunity to fit your skills and interests.