On September 10, 2014, Venable presented its inaugural Intellectual Property Symposium in its Washington, D.C. office to highlight the important role of intellectual property in business and society. The Symposium brought together intellectual property practitioners and businesses, and included a keynote address by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), various panel discussions and a rooftop reception. The event covered aspects of patent reform, looked at trends in patent, copyright, and trademark law, and explored issues related to settlement of patent litigation.
Senator Lee set the tone for the Symposium by emphasizing the critical role that intellectual property plays in modern society. Senator Lee discussed how so-called “patent trolls” have created problems for many business interests and constituents in his state, and his role in co-sponsoring the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act to curb patent litigation abuse. The Senator expressed disappointment that the bill was shelved in the previous term, but remained optimistic that a substantially similar patent reform bill would appear in the future, largely because of the bipartisan support on the issue in both chambers of Congress.
Senator Lee’s speech was followed by two panel discussions. The first discussion explored current trends in intellectual property law. Ralph Dengler, a partner in Venable’s Intellectual Property Litigation Group, described recent Supreme Court decisions potentially narrowing patent rights and explored the new standard for recovering attorneys’ fees. Professor Elizabeth Winston of the Catholic University of America asked the audience to consider the territorial limits of patent law, posing provocative questions like “Who enforces patent rights in outer space?” and “Where is the cloud, and how do you protect your cloud-based IP?” Meaghan Kent, an associate in Venable’s Intellectual Property Litigation Group, described current fair use trends in copyright law, citing examples in art, literature, and music, and highlighting how the interpretation of “fair use” often depends on the industry. Janet Satterthwaite, a partner in Venable’s Trademark Group, explained how brands have become interactive and fluid, citing the new Share a Coke campaign, and described some pitfalls to avoid when crowdsourcing trademarks. Vicki Margolis, Associate General Counsel of Litigation for Kimberly-Clark Corporation, contributed to all of the topics, providing insight from the perspective of in-house counsel, and offering suggestions for better serving clients as outside counsel.
During the second panel discussion, Chris Copeland, Senior Counsel in Contracts and IP for M&T Bank, and Frank Gasparo, Chair of Intellectual Property for Venable’s New York Office, provided in-house and outside counsel perspectives on the question of “How to Settle a Patent Litigation Favorably.” Mr. Copeland and Mr. Gasparo focused their discussion on the topic of settling litigations involving non-practicing entities. Ken Cappel, Global IP Counsel for Amneal Pharmaceuticals, and Tamany Vinson Bentz, Counsel in Venable’s Intellectual Property Litigation Group, outlined abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) filings, as well as some of the motivating factors for instigating ANDA litigation. They then listed a number of possible leverage points for reaching a settlement and highlighted a variety of anti-trust issues specific to ANDA settlements. The panel concluded with Nora Garrote, Co-Chair of Venable’s Intellectual Property Transactions Group, describing her experiences and best practices for negotiating settlement agreements.
The event concluded with a reception for speakers and attendees on Venable’s rooftop patio.