Intellectual property (Ip) law

Intellectual property (IP) Law

At present, IP law is beset with a spate of upheavals originating both from within the system as well as from without. Contemporary political, social and economic exigencies are leading to radical changes in the way IP rights are negotiated, litigated and enforced. In keeping with the overall theme of the TILTing 2021 conference “Regulating in Times of Crisis”, we explore how current crises, both external and internal to the system, are challenging and shaping IP law and seek innovative solutions to re-model the IP law framework to meet the needs of the future.

Intellectual property (IP) law has never been a stranger to tumult and turmoil, but lately we have been spoilt for choice in picking our battles. At present, IP law is beset with a spate of fresh upheavals that originate both from within the system as well as from without. Regulatory and policy shifts that seek to respond to contemporary political, social and economic exigencies are leading to radical changes in the way IP rights are negotiated, litigated and enforced.

For instance, within the EU, the introduction of the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive (2019) compels online service providers (OSPs) to assume a more proactive role in monitoring content shared on online platforms (Article 17) and introduces a new right for press publishers (Article 15).

Meanwhile in patent law, the decades-long progress made in the pursuit of a unified patent has been put on shaky ground by the departure of the United Kingdom and the collective action case in Germany. Moreover, the emergence of disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) challengescore concepts and rules (e.g. ‘authorship’, ‘inventorship’, ‘originality’) on which the IP law system is founded.

The persistent tension between IP law and (other) fundamental rights is ever-increasing, especially as regards the right to privacy, freedom of expression and access to culture and education. The interface between IP law and competition law is also coming under greater scrutiny with growing calls for more fairness, openness and transparency.

On top of all that, the COVID-19 pandemic has urged us to re-examine the role of IP law as an instrument for promoting public welfare and sustainable human development. It has also provided fresh impetus to arguments for a more ‘inclusive’ approach to IP protection; particularly in the context of pharmaceutical patents, the sharing of copyright protected content over remote-learning networks, and the sharing of data in the context of research and monitoring public health.

These are but a few examples of crises that highlight shortcomings and limitations of the current IP law framework and provide us a golden opportunity for re-modelling it in creative ways.

The track 'From IP law in crisis to IP law and crises, and back again'

For this track, we welcome papers that explore the ways in which crises -both within and outside the legal framework -are both challenging and shaping IP law and discuss innovative solutions for resolving existing crises.

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