There is much to write about the event, but I will start my week long coverage with an overview of the event. As the week progresses I will delve into some interesting substantive discussions that took place over this Intellectual Property weekend in the Granite State, including: (1) Chief Judge Rader tell me during the Judges’ panel: “You aren’t making any sense…” (check back Tuesday afternoon 10/4/2011 for more on this); (2) Chief Judge Rader daring anyone to come up with proof that the Supreme Court’s decision in KSR did anything to change previous Federal Circuit case law on obviousness (I’ll take that challenge!); and (3) Jon Dudas, the former Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, succinctly (and correctly) explaining that the funding of the United States Patent and Trademark Office is similar in ways to a Ponzi scheme.
Many, if not most, within the intellectual property community know that recently Franklin Pierce Law Center ceased to exist and has embarked upon an affiliation with the University of New Hampshire. FPLC is where I obtained by my Juris Doctor degree and my Master of Laws in Intellectual Property, so it has long held a special place in my heart. Earlier this year when I visited to attend the ABA task force hearings relating to the state of the Justice System, which were co-chaired by Ted Olsen and David Boies, Dean Broderick informed me that in September construction would be complete for the new Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property, and he asked me to put it on my calendar and return to New Hampshire for the event, which I was all too glad to do.
In addition to the University of New Hampshire School of Law opening the newly completed building, which came in on time and under budget, the first of many IP events was hosted in the 12,000+ square-foot addition. Friday started out with an academic conference, which I was unable to attend, and concluded with a keynote speech by Judge Horowitz on how technology can improve the access to Justice for all and a dinner.
During the dinner Dean Broderick announced a very well kept secret, which was even news to some of those on the faculty at UNH School of Law. Upon announcing that he would be taking Senior Status from the Federal Circuit, Judge Arthur Gajarsa received a letter from Dean Broderick, himself the former Chief Justice of the State of New Hampshire. Dean Broderick explained that he invited Judge Gajarsa to become the first Distinguished Jurist in Residence at the Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property. Several weeks later Judge Gajarsa contacted Dean Broderick who full well expected that Judge Gajarsa would politely decline the invitation. To his surprise and the benefit of UNH School of Law, Judge Gajarsa accepted the offer and will indeed become the first Distinguished Jurist in Residence at the newly created Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property.
Also during the dinner a lifetime achievement award was given to another Judge from the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit — Judge Pauline Newman. Judge Newman is a champion for a strong and vibrant intellectual property system, and is the perfect person to receive this inaugural award from the Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property. Judge Newman, herself a patent attorney, has written some of the most influential decisions ever issued by the United States Court of Appeals, and her dissents are legendary. With over 350 dissenting opinions joined or authored she has not been afraid to say it like she believes it, attempting to set the record straight in the event the Supreme Court might get involved, to share her views with other colleagues on the Federal Circuit and to give practicing patent practitioners and litigators ammunition for the future. In my opinion Judge Newman is the biggest “rockstar” in our industry and she deserves every award and recognition she receives.
It was a great weekend, it was wonderful to be back in Concord, New Hampshire, and even better to see so many old friends.