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Professor O’Connor’s research focuses on intellectual property and business law with regard to start-ups and commercializing technology and arts innovation. His teaching and law practice specialize in transactions and the strategic role of the general counsel. Professor O’Connor received his law degree from Stanford Law School, a master’s degree in philosophy from Arizona State University, and a bachelor’s degree in history from University of Massachusetts. He has published numerous articles and book chapters and lectures frequently around the world. Professor O’Connor’s award-winning research has been funded by the National Academies of Science, International Intellectual Property Institute, Kauffman Foundation, and the Center for Protection of Intellectual Property (George Mason University), in many cases through competitive fellowships. He is currently working on Method+ology and the Means of Innovation to be published by Oxford University Press.
Since joining the UW Law faculty in 2003, he has served in a number of Law School and university-wide leadership positions, including designing and launching the ground-breaking Entrepreneurial Law Clinic. He has also been a Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley, George Washington University, Katholieke Universitat (Leuven BELGIUM), and Hanken School of Economics (Helsinki FINLAND).
Some IP commentators love to hate the Blurred Lines music copyright decision. A primary critique has stoked unnecessary fear in musicians that the decision blurs the line between protectable expression and unprotectable style or genre. Much of the animosity, however, is based on misunderstanding or misconstruing the law or facts. This post clarifies this aspect of the case to show why the district court decision was reasonable and should be affirmed in the current appeal at the Ninth Circuit.