Faculty and Program News

Faculty and IP Program in the News


IP Events

  • IP Colloquium April 2, 2015: Professor Sarah Burnstein and "The High Cost of Design Patents"

    Professor Sarah Burnstein, from the Oklahoma College of Law, comes to speak to the Suffolk Law Community and the Boston IP Colloquium, on her research about design patents. 

    Time:  1 - 2 pm. Lunch is served at 12:30.

    Location: Faculty Dining Room

    The U.S. design patent system has been repeatedly criticized for being “too expensive.” Critics argue that the United States should adopt a system in which design rights are cheap or free to obtain, like the European Community Design regime. Even the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office appears to assume that design patents should be as cheap as possible, cheering the United State’s progress towards joining the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs. This paper questions the commonly-accepted proposition that design rights should be as inexpensive as possible, arguing that “cheap” design rights impose significant costs on competitors, judicial systems, and society as a whole. At a minimum, these external costs should be recognized and discussed in evaluating the merits of particular design-protection regimes. 

  • The Future of Software Patents, March 20, 2015

    The U.S. Supreme Court recently curtailed the patentability of software in Alice (probably a predictable holding given Benson and Flook). The Federal Circuit seems to be paying heed. See Ultramercial. What is left? Diehr for sure and this from Alice: "There is no dispute that… many computer-implemented claims are formally addressed to patent eligible subject matter." But, even if a patentee overcomes the §101 hurdle, he now faces new §112 hurdles as well. Join us in an effort to predict the future of software patents and to brainstorm ways to address §101 and §112 issues.

    This is a Brown Bag lunch.

    All are welcome. Please register here

  • 2/18 IP Concentration and Employment Opportunities Event


    Date: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 
    Location: Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, MA 
    Time: 04:00 PM - 06:30 PM

     F A C U L T Y

    Professor Andrew Beckerman-Rodau


    Thomas Johnston--Assoc. G.C., Covidien


    Amanda Petrillo--Sr. Manager, Boston Red Sox


    Jason Sweet--Esq., BoothSweet 

    All are welcome. Register here.

  • 1/29 Book Talk: "The Eureka Myth: Creators, Innovators and Everyday Intellectual Property" by Professor Jessica Silbey

    Time:  4:30-6 pm

    Location: Moakley Law Library, 6th Floor

    Book talk and reception following.

    From Stanford University Press's webpage:

    Are innovation and creativity helped or hindered by our intellectual property laws? In the two hundred plus years since the Constitution enshrined protections for those who create and innovate, we're still debating the merits of IP laws and whether or not they actually work as intended. Artists, scientists, businesses, and the lawyers who serve them, as well as the Americans who benefit from their creations all still wonder: what facilitates innovation and creativity in our digital age? And what role, if any, do our intellectual property laws play in the growth of innovation and creativity in the United States?

    Incentivizing the "progress of science and the useful arts" has been the goal of intellectual property law since our constitutional beginnings. The Eureka Myth cuts through the current debates and goes straight to the source: the artists and innovators themselves. Silbey makes sense of the intersections between intellectual property law and creative and innovative activity by centering on the stories told by artists, scientists, their employers, lawyers and managers, describing how and why they create and innovate and whether or how IP law plays a role in their activities. Their employers, business partners, managers, and lawyers also describe their role in facilitating the creative and innovative work. Silbey's connections and distinctions made between the stories and statutes serve to inform present and future innovative and creative communities.

    Breaking new ground in its examination of the U.S. economy and cultural identity, The Eureka Myth draws out new and surprising conclusions about the sometimes misinterpreted relationships between creativity and intellectual property protections.

    About the author

    Jessica Silbey is Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School. Professor Silbey's work engages a cultural analysis of law. Professor Silbey has written for various journals and news outlets, and is coeditor of Law and Justice on the Small Screen (2012).

  • 11/14 Emerging Issues in Social Media Liability

    Date: Friday, November 14, 2014

    Location: Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, MA

    View Video Here

    Time: 08:00 AM - 05:00 PM

    Register: www.suffolk.edu/law/knowledge/professional-education.php

  • 11/10 World Intellectual Property Organization: Services and Initiatives to Help Grow Global Businesses through Innovation

    Hosted by: Intellectual Property Law Concentration jointly with WIPO, the USPTO, the US Chamber of Commerce and AIPLA

    Date: Monday, November 10, 2014

    Location: 1st Floor Function Room, Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

    Time: 9:20 AM - 4:45 PM

    View video coverage here and here and here.

  • 11/5 E-Sports Panel

    Join Suffolk’s Journal of High Technology Law and Sport and Entertainment Law Association for a panel discussion on the business and law of E-Sports.

    Panelists include: Ryan Morrison, the “Video Game Attorney”
    Christina Alejandre, Director of E-Sports for Infinite Crisis
    Professor T.L. Taylor, author of “Raising the Stakes”
    Jesse Sell, MIT Game Lab member and researcher

    Stream to be available at www.jhtl.org

    Date: Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 

    Location: Suffolk University Law School, Room 365, 120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

    Time: 5:00 PM
  • 10/31 Workshop: Professor William Nicholson Price, UNH Law School, "Incentives, Intellectual Property, and Black-Box Personalized Medicine"

    Hosted by Boston IP Colloquium

    Date: Friday, October 31, 2014 

    Location: Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, MA 

    Time: 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

  • IP Program

  • 8/7 - 8/14 Suffolk Law Hosts Hackathon

    The ABA Journal and Suffolk University Law School are hosting a "hackathon" in conjunction with the ABA Annual Meeting on Aug. 7-12, 2014 in Boston.

    No formal theme has been selected, but there's a general consensus that the project should further access to justice efforts in some way.

    “I’m thrilled that Suffolk is hosting this event. It is a great way for Suffolk to contribute to access to justice and showcase our work in legal technology and innovation,” said Suffolk Law Professor Andrew Perlman, who is the director of the Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation.

    During the hackathon, lawyers and law students will work alongside developers and graphic designers in teams. Each team will work to plan and develop a web application or mobile app over the course of the hackathon. At the end of the hackathon, a panel of experts will rate each of the teams' work, and a winning team will be chosen. 

  • Patent Team Takes Second Place in Nationals

    The Suffolk University Law School's patent moot court team took second place at the national finals of the Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Patent Law Moot Court competition April 23-25 in Washington, D.C.

    Suffolk Law’s loss in the final round is the furthest the school has ever gone in this prestigious, notoriously difficult competition.

    Christina Mott and Scott Chappell

    Third-year student Christina Mott and second-year Scott Chappell competed against teams from the Iowa College of Law, Columbia, the University of Washington, the University of Utah, the University of Houston, and Michigan State. They argued before federal Judges Lourie, Tarranto, and Chen. This year’s problem involved issues of subject matter eligibility of claims relating to DNA and of subject matter jurisdiction over a licensing dispute.

    The Suffolk team won $1,000.


    Mott and Chappell advanced to the national finals after winning first place in the Northeast regional competition hosted by Suffolk Law School in March. Sixteen teams competed in the regional round, but only Suffolk and Columbia made it to the finals, with Suffolk taking first place and winning the award for Best Appellate Brief.

    IP Clinic Director Eve Brown, professor Andrew Beckerman-Rodau, and alum Ralph Trementozzi coached and mentored the team. 

  • 3/24 Free Software Foundation Seminar on GPL Enforcement and Legal Ethics

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF) seminar on GPL Enforcement and Legal Ethics. The half-day seminar will provide an introduction to the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL), a detailed look at how it can and has been enforced, and a session on professional ethics considerations for lawyers working with clients involved in free software.

    The event sessions will be lead by Karen Sandler of the GNOME Foundation and former general counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center; Bradley Kuhn, President of the Software Freedom Conservancy and a member of the FSF's Board of Directors, and Donald R. Robertson, III, J.D., the FSF's Copyright and Licensing Associate. 

    The event is aimed at legal professionals and law students. Registration for the event is open to the public at https://crm.fsf.org/civicrm/event/register?reset=1&id=15.

    When: Monday, March 24th, 2014

    Time:  9:00 am to 1:00 pm (doors open at 8:30am)

    Where: Suffolk University Law School, Function Room.

  • 3/21 Conference on Tech Start-ups: Balancing Legal and Business Issues

    3/21 Conference on Tech Start-ups: Balancing Legal and Business Issues

    Representing startups is a difficult undertaking because entrepreneurs and attorneys approach transactions from very different perspectives. Often attorneys and entrepreneurs don’t fully understand the other’s perspective. Attorneys can be too risk adverse, leading them to be seen as roadblocks rather than assets to their business-minded clients. Entrepreneurs, eager to see their ideas come to fruition, can act too quickly, unknowingly taking on excessive risks that could be avoided with greater access to legal knowledge and understanding.  Usually the ideal situation is a balance between trailblazing and mitigating potential issues. However, this requires that all parties understand everyone’s perspective.

    This program will address the legal and business issues facing a startup. These can include raising money, obtaining and working with legal counsel, protecting IP and business know-how, and navigating employment issues, among other things. It will also discuss the new issues that arise if the business fails or if it is successful. 


    This program is for entrepreneurs and business people who want to learn more about legal issues affecting technology startups. It is also for attorneys who want to learn more about the business issues and concerns affecting technology startups.


    • Evaluating and minimizing risk - Different perspectives of entrepreneurs, attorneys, and other                    professionals

    • How to go from an abstract idea to a startup business

    • Funding a startup

    • Employment issues

    • Success - Transition of a startup to an operating business

    • Failure - Winding down the business and minimizing personal liability


    Sponsored by Suffolk University’s Center for Advanced Legal Studies, IP Law Concentration, IP & Entrepreneurship Clinic, Sawyer Business School’s Center for Entrepreneurship

    For registration and more information about the full program, click here.

  • 3/21 Professor Deborah Gerhardt, University of North Carolina School of Law: Freeing Art and History from Copyright’s Bondage

    Deborah Gerhardt visits Suffolk Law’s IP Program to discuss her research on the copyright publication doctrine to clarify whether art, photographs, films, and historical documents that fill our museums and libraries are in the public domain. Neither the statutory definition nor leading treatises adequately identify when a work is published. Drawing from my empirical study of which variables matter most to courts, this article shows how precedential patterns point to the best solution. Adoption of the proposed standard would provide much needed clarity on which pieces of our cultural heritage are in the public domain. Visitors are welcome with RSVP to Professor Silbey (jsilbey@suffolk.edu).

    Bio: Professor Gerhardt teaches at the UNC School of law and writes about copyright, trademark and plagiarism.

    Date: Friday, March 21, 2013

    : Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, MA, Room 205

    : 10:30 am – 12:00 am

  • 2/27 Copyright Society USA: The Rise of Fair Use? A Look at the State of the Fair Use Defense

    "The Rise of Fair Use? A Look at the State of the Fair Use Defense"

    A series of significant fair use decisions are changing the landscape of fair use. The Google Books case, Cariou v. Prince, Lenz vs. Universal Music, SOFA Entertainment, Inc. v. Dodger Productions, Inc., Authors Guild v HathiTrust, Cambridge University Press et al. v. Patton et al (the “Georgia State case). and many others are having a significant impact on the future of copyright.  What do these many cases mean for authors, copyright owners, reusers, and the public. Has fair use gone too far or not far enough? Should we revive the copyright misuse defense? A panel of copyright experts explore the issues in an interactive discussion.

    Our Panelists are Christopher Bavitz, Managing Director of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, based at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law at HLS,: Glenn Pudelka, Counsel, Edwards Wildman: Jessica Silbey, Professor Suffolk University Law School; and Moderator Mark A. Fischer, Partner, Duane Morris

    Watch video of the event here.

    2/27 Sponsored by the Copyright Society USA; hosted by Suffolk Law School

    6 pm Faculty Dining Room, 4th floor, Sargent Hall, 120 Tremont Street

    All are welcome; photo identification required to enter Sargent Hall.

  • 1/30 Trademarks: IP Certificate Module

    This program is part of our Intellectual Property Law Certificate serving lawyers and business people seeking more sophisticated understanding of intellectual property to improve their businesses and organizations. You may attend up to two modules without obligation to enroll. This module covers trademark law, in particular: what can be a trademark; types of trademarks; what a trademark search is; how trademark rights can be protected under state law and federal law; how a trademark is registered under federal law; the advantages of registering a trademark under federal law; protecting trademarks; concurrent use; trademark genericide; trademark incontestability; managing a trademark portfolio; basics of trademark infringement.

    Date: Thursday, January 30, 2014

    Location: Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, MA

    Time: 04:00 PM - 07:00 PM


  • 11/22 Design Patents: Modernizing an Old Property Interest

    Renewed interest in design patents based in part on the Apple / Samsung litigation inspired this full-day program at Suffolk Law. Attorneys involved in the ongoing patent litigation war between Apple and Samsung will be part of the program—Jong K. Choi of Samsung will moderate a panel on litigating design patent infringement, and Michael T. Zeller of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (who represented Samsung) will also be present. Attorneys from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office will provide an insider’s view of how design patents are handled. Two nationally known experts in design protection, Christopher V. Carani and Perry Saidman, will discuss design protection legal issues. And finally, the special damage provisions for Design Patents will be analyzed by a leading expert on patent damages.

    Those who attend this conference will learn: the PTO’s perspective on prosecution of design patents; how the recently enacted Hague Treaty will affect design patent practice; how to interpret and apply design patent law; how to handle design patent litigation including damages and functionality; the overlapping protections under design patent, trade dress & other IP law.

    Co-Sponsored by: The Intellectual Property Law Concentration & the Social Law Library

    Date: Friday, November 22, 2013

    Location: Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, MA

    Time: 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM




  • 11/12 The Music Business Comes to Law School

    A panel of musicians, music promoters, agents and disc jockeys visits Professor Jessica Silbey’s copyright classroom to talk with students about what makes their music happen. Topics of discussion will include: the relevance of DVDs; the vinyl comeback; music agents, music promoters and booking agents; digital downloads, internet radio and terrestrial radio; the work of a disk jockey; branding and authenticity in the music business; the craft of sound recording; law reform in the sound recording industry; the economics of cover songs; where does the money come from and where does it go? Visitors are welcome with permission of Professor Silbey (jsilbey@suffolk.edu).

    Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Location: Suffolk University Law School, Sargent Hall, Room 275, 120 Tremont St., Boston, MA

    Time: 06:00 PM - 07:25 PM
  • 11/1 IP Law Meet Final Competition

    Hosted by Suffolk Law School, ten teams from the eastern division will be coming to compete in an IP negotiation, accompanied by their faculty advisors. The IP Law Meet is the premier interscholastic competition for law students interested in transactional practice with a focus on IP law. Teams of students draft deal documents, counsel clients and engage in negotiations in a competitive setting.

    Date: Friday, November 1, 2013

    Location: Suffolk University Law School, Sargent Hall, 120 Tremont St., Boston, MA

    Time: 08:00 AM - 06:00 PM

  • 10/24 SELA Fall Sports Law Panel: Compensation, Commercialization, and Labor Issues in Revenue Generating Sports

    Our panel of legal experts will discuss several issues facing the NCAA, including potential compensation for student athletes in revenue generating sports, the O'Bannon class action anti-trust lawsuit involving EA Sports, and the investigation into Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel's acceptance of money for autographed memorabilia. Suffolk Law alumni Mr. Brian McLaughlin will be moderating the event. Brian is the Vice President and co-owner of the athlete representation agency Symmetry. Symmetry currently represents several NFL players, including New England Patriots 2013 draft pick, Steve Beauharnais. Brian is an NFLPA certified contract advisor, and is licensed to practice law in the State of New York. In May 2013, Sports Launch magazine named Brian to their annual “Thirty Under 30″ award list, which designates the top thirty sports executives under the age of 30. Brian is just one of the five highly credited Sports Law experts participating in the panel discussion.

    Co-sponsored by: Suffolk Law’s Sports and Entertainment Law Association & Women in Sports and Events

    Date: Thursday, October 24, 2013

    Location: Suffolk University Law School, 1st Floor Function Room, 120 Tremont St., Boston, MA

    : 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM

    [video link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMJJZuMmxW4&feature=youtu.be]

  • 10/18 IP Crash Course: What is IP Anyway?

    This program is designed for non-IP attorneys, business people, scientists and paralegals who wish to gain a general understanding of Patent, Copyright, Trademark and Trade Secret law. Products of the mind, commonly called Intellectual Property (IP), have become increasingly important as the U.S. economy has become a major producer and user of technology. The ubiquitous nature of IP makes it essential that all lawyers, business persons and scientists have an understanding of the rudiments of IP law. This “Crash Course” provides you with the basic knowledge to identify different types of IP and to learn what protections are available to increase your own understanding and learn how to better counsel your clients.

    Sponsored by: The Center for Advanced Legal Studies, the Intellectual Property Law Concentration, and the Social Law Library

    Date: Friday, October 18, 2013

    Location: Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, MA

    Time: 09:00 AM - 04:30 PM

    [ALS Link here: http://lawlist.law.suffolk.edu/academic/als/coursedetail.cfm?cid=831 ]

  • 10/16 Privacy Volunteers Project Launches

    As part of a consortium of national law schools and our on-going commitment to pro-bono practice, Suffolk students and professors will be visiting middle school classrooms around Massachusetts to discuss privacy, social networks, on-line communities and internet safety. This is part of a collaborative project initiated by Fordham Law School’s CLIP (Center for Law and Information Policy). Suffolk is excited to join more than ten other law schools around the country in this community-based project.

    [Press release link: Law Students to Teach Online Privacy to Middle Schoolers]

  • 9/27 Nancy Baym: The Relational Contexts of Creative IP: The Case of Musicians

    Nancy Baym visits Suffolk Law’s IP Program from Microsoft Research Cambridge to discuss her research on musicians and their relationships with audiences as developed through social media. Musicians, whose work is easily shared through means both authorized and unauthorized are on the forefront of changes in the social and business models within which IP flows, and, more importantly, at the forefront of the ways that economic contexts are increasingly infused with interpersonal relational communication. This talk draws on interviews with approximately 40 musicians (mostly from the US, UK and Europe), most of whom are independent, and most of whom had audiences prior to the advent of Myspace in 2002. Baym identifies six primary tensions at play as people navigate these new waters. Her talk focuses in particular on how audiences use musicians’ IP and how the musicians understand the implications of those audience practices.

    Bio: Nancy Baym is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Prior to joining Microsoft Research, she was a Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. She has written about fan/artist relationships, online audience community, digital media and personal relationships, and qualitative methods for internet research. She is the author of Personal Connections in the Digital Age (Polity Press, 2010), Internet Inquiry: Conversations about Methods (co-edited with Annette Markham, Sage 2009), and Tune In, Log On: Soaps, Fandom and Online Community (Sage, 2000) as well as dozens of articles and book chapters.

    Date: Friday, September 27, 2013

    Location: Suffolk University Law School, Room 205, 120 Tremont St., Boston, MA

    Time: 10:30 AM

    [VIDEO LINK to SULS YouTube Channel ]


Journal of High Technology Law


The Journal of High Technology Law is a student-run journal devoted to IP and IP-related legal issues. It is produced twice a year. This online journal Journal features articles by legal scholars, practitioners and students. Recent topics include weeding out bad patents, promoting data insecurity, and the law and wind power development in Massachusetts.


The Journal of High Technology Law also hosts a blog with regular postings about current issues in IP and IP-related fields.

IP Podcasts and Videos

Review the constitutionality of copyright law while jogging? Consider evidence while brushing your teeth? Suffolk’s Intellectual Property Law Podcast Series, downloaded more than 100,000 times in 2012, offers more than 80 podcasts, free. Most run 5-10 minutes and feature faculty and guests. Suffolk University Law School's podcasts are available on iTunes U.

We also produce videos of guest lectures, special classes and conference proceedings available here.

Advanced Studies in IP Law

The IP Concentration in conjunction with Suffolk Law’s  award-winning Center for Advanced Legal Studies (ALS), offers a series of day-long conferences addressing cutting edge IP issues for practicing attorneys. Programs typically feature top IP practitioners, judges, academics, and business leaders. Shorter lunch and breakfast programs are also offered on topical IP issues. View our most recent IP ALS program. The fee for these programs is waived for all current Suffolk Law students.


Suffolk Law also offers two additional continuing education programs, a Masters in Global Technology for law graduates and an IP Law Certificate for non-lawyers.


Masters in Global Technology (LLM)

The Global Law and Technology LLM program is a post-JD graduate law program designed for attorneys who want the practical knowledge and skills needed to meet the legal challenges of science, technology, and communications in today’s evolving global economy. You can choose to specialize in one of four areas: Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law Biotechnology and Health Law International Law and Business U.S. Law and Legal Methods

IP Law Certificate

The Center for Advanced Legal Studies and the IP Law Concentration jointly offer an IP Certificate program for business people, scientists, non-IP lawyers and other professionals who wish to learn the basics of IP law. The goal of the program is to enable professionals to understand the importance of IP in today’s business environment and to allow them to more effectively interact with IP attorneys.


Internships and Studying Abroad


Suffolk Law offers a rich array of practice-based IP experiences for students. Students can take advantage of our local community's diverse IP-related industries for internships during the school year, and Suffolk's long-standing relationship with the University of Lund in Sweden regularly offers a summer course of study that focuses on comparative and international IP issues.


Suffolk Law students have interned with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, the Cybercrime Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, Cisco Corporation, BOSE Corporation, Partner’s HealthCare, Gillette Corporation, the Massachusetts Division of Information Technology, MIT's technology transfer office, a range of pharmaceutical and e-commerce companies, and boutique IP law firms. See our intership program page.

Suffolk Law typically offers several IP law classes during its three-week summer program at the University of Lund in Sweden. Typical courses offerings have included International IP Law, International Business Transactions, and Global IP Law. Additionally, students visit relevant venues such as the Denmark Supreme Court in Copenhagen, the Appeals Court in Malmo, Sweden and nearby biotech firms.


IP Certificate

The IP Law Certificate program is designed for professionals (not just attorneys) who want a better understanding of IP law and may need to work with IP lawyers, venture capitalists and others in the intellectual property field.