2nd Conference 2018: ‘Intellectual property in transitions: (Re)-imagining intellectual property’

The New IP Lawyers network and Exeter Law School are delighted to invite you to their 2nd Conference in intellectual property law entitled Intellectual property in transitions: (Re)-imagining intellectual property’ on the 16th and 17th of April 2018
The event aims to gather intellectual property specialists across the world to discuss the impact of economic, technological, cultural and political changes have had, or are expected to have, on intellectual property law. All areas of intellectual property law will be represented and are invited to contribute. Researchers and practitioners at any stage of their career are welcome to participate and present their work. The conference is intended to be inclusive and a networking opportunity for all. To this end, a prize of £200 be awarded to the ‘Best Presentation given by a Postgraduate Researcher’.

The conference committee has now opened its call for contribution for paper and panel submissions. See also the call for more details. Participants may register online (click here) – early bird rates apply!

We would be very grateful if you could circulate the conference detail and call for contribution to any colleagues you think might be interested in joining us.



Young scholars (PhD candidates, non-tenured junior faculty, young professionals) that work in the area of Intellectual Property and Competition issues are invited to participate in the first global writing workshop and research colloquium scheduled from August 27-September 2, 2017 in New Delhi, India.

Please, find here: 1st JIRICO Writing Workshop&Research Colloquium the call for papers. Registration closes on July 15, 2017 (Saturday) 23:59 hrs IST.

Selected participants will be offered scholarships in terms of partial/fully funded travel, hospitality and research support.

For any queries, kindly email us on jirico-workshop@jgu.edu.in

WORLD IP DAY: April 26, 2017 Innovation – Improving Lives

The theme of this year’s World Intellectual Property is ‘Innovation-Improving Live’ . Let’s hope that we make maximum use of intellectual property to improve our life.

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 12.31.54WIPO official Page

Conference TILTing Perspectives 2017: ‘Regulating a connected world’

Next May 17-19 the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) at Tilburg University will host the Conference TILTing Perspectives 2017: ‘Regulating a connected world’. TILTing 2017 brings together researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and civil society at the intersection of law and regulation, technology, and society to share insights, exchange ideas and formulate, discuss and suggest answers to contemporary challenges related to technological innovation. The conference will include plenary sessions, parallel sessions, and panel discussions with invited speakers, as well as presentations from respondents to the call for papers. The program (first version) with abstracts is now available. The conference features four large tracks where the following keynote speakers have confirmed their attendance:

1. Privacy track and PLSC-Europe (Privacy Law Scholars Conference model): Christopher Slobogin and Gary T. Marx
2. Healthcare track: Flis Henwood and Irene Schluender
3. Intellectual Property track: Maciej Szpunar and John Golden
4. Data Science track: Sean McDonald and Solon Barocas

TILTing 2017 will also host other interesting events.

GikII Workshop
TILTing 2017 will contain a ‘GikII’ style workshop that brings together the worlds of law, technology and popular culture for the purpose of discussing whether geek law exists. In the first workshop held in London (2006) they discussed, among others topics, whether we need a new legal regime for the regulation of virtual property and copyright law, anime, fansubs.
If you have a paper burning for the oxygen of publicity on any aspect of law and technology, science, geek culture, blogs, popular culture, wikis, science fiction or fantasy, computer games, digital culture, gender on-line, MMORPGS, virtual property or online human personae, you can submit a geeky title and abstract to contribute to the discussion.

IAPP Privacy Paper Award
During the conference, the IAPP Privacy Paper Award will be presented. By now, the list of jury members is already available.

‘We Are Data Mirror Room’
During the conference you will be able to visit the ‘We Are Data Mirror Room’. Inside, visitors will be watched and monitored without them knowing, in order to examine how far technology might enter in their private domain for them to still feel comfortable. In the room, participants will experience what it is like to become data, and they will be free to choose what personal data they keep to themselves.

Social program
As part of the conference, they have planned an (optional) social event for the evening of May 18. They will visit the local Brewery De Roos, the only remaining authentic village brewery in the Netherlands (1877), where they will take a guided tour followed by drinks and appetizers.

Do not miss this inspiring event and register now!




2nd Workshop Series “New Technologies & Challenges to the Existing Intellectual Property System”


in collaboration with

   ASK Art, Science and Knowledge, Bocconi University  & Bocconi PhD School      

2nd 2017 Workshop Series

New Technologies and Challenges to the Existing Intellectual Property System

14 September 2017

Bocconi University, Milan


Call for Papers

 Technology often precedes legal protection. Robotics, wearable technology (e.g. augmented and virtual reality) and the modification of living organisms are some examples. Whereas new technologies promise to bring benefits to human life by improving transportation, medical care, energy systems, education, and farming, their potential to make an effective contribution depends on the ability of regulatory systems to accommodate technological change.

The intellectual property (IP) system is one component of a bigger institutional framework aiming at fostering growth based on technological innovation. Patents, trade secrets, copyrights, designs, and trademarks are tools for shaping an adequate environment for innovation and growth. Whether a “Frankestein world” will benefit or harm humanity will thus also depend on the subject matter and scope of IP protection.

Proposals to tackle new technological developments have been discussed at EU level as well. For example, several proposals have been advanced to deal with technologies in the EU Digital Single Market or to regulate IP rights on robotics and artificial intelligence.

What are the challenges that new technologies create for IP rights? Which areas are more problematic for IP protection? Should current IP systems be modified? If so, how?

This workshop aims at discussing the work of PhD students who explore intellectual protection of new technologies employed in fields such as arts & science, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, software and other relevant fields. We welcome interdisciplinary research both from a doctrinal and empirical point of view. Contributors are invited to share their review of existing proposals for reform as well as explore new ways for changing the Intellectual Property framework.

To be considered for the workshop, please submit a 350-500 words abstract as well as a one-paragraph bio by 30 May 2017 to newiplawyers@unibocconi.it. Acceptance will be notified by 30 June 2017.

 You may download the call hereBocconi Call

This event is organized by  Viola Prifti & Laura Zoboli on behalf of New IP Lawyers.

Unfortunately, there is no funding available to cover travel or accommodation expenses.


Kraków Intellectual Property Law Summer School 2017

The Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, kindly invites graduate and postgraduate (PhD) law students as well as young professionals to the Kraków Intellectual Property Law Summer School 2017. This year the programme is focused on the intriguing issues of IPR infringements. The international approach is guaranteed by keynote speakers from the United Kingdom, Germany and New Zealand. The summer school will take place from September 11 to 16, 2017.

For further information you may visit the webpage: http://ipsummer.law.uj.edu.pl/

There is also a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ipsummerschool/

An early bird registration is available for all students and young professionals.

We thank Ewa Laskowska for informing us on this interesting event!

Our 1st seminar series “Ethics of IPRs: Challenges & Solutions”

On 17 March 2017, I organized a workshop “Ethics of IPRs: Challenges & Solutions”* on behalf of New IP Lawyers at Bournemouth University. The workshop aimed at giving feedback to doctoral work in different intellectual property areas. I was pleased to receive numerous interesting proposals and hear thoughtful presentations on PhD topics. Participants approached their topics from different perspectives: philosophical, law & economics, economics, legal theory, etc. It was particularly useful to see how students work in an interdisciplinarily in order to give a bigger picture of the specific research question. I was even more content to notice the time and thoughts experienced discussants dedicated to the students.

The workshop received positive feedback both from the participants. Prof. Ruth Towse was very kind to write a thoughtful 3-page report on copyright issues. She clearly explains 3 major points related to ethics & copyright. In addition to copyright issues, I think that Ruth’s clarification on the following points is most relevant for those with a legal background:

  1. The difference between Law & Economics and Economics
  2. The difference between Efficiency & Equity (lawyers tend to confuse these concepts)
  3. The relationship between technological progress & law (I believe this emphasizes the dynamic nature of markets)

Ruth gives examples to illustrate her ideas. Therefore, I am sure that everyone will enjoy reading her report.

Other comments from PhD students are:

Matej Gera, Bournemouth University: “Overall, top-notch event, I enjoyed it very much, congratulations on such a good organisation. :)”

Thomas Kirchberger, Johannes Kepler University Linz ” Dear Viola, thank you again for organising this wonderful workshop. Thank you also to the CIPPM, Maurizio and the BU for making it possible. As someone who participates at a lot of workshops, seminars and conferences, I have to say that this one stood out to me as a very specialised event with a wonderful discussion atmosphere. Although 20 minutes for presentation are short, and 10 minutes of discussion even tighter, I enjoyed having the benefit of being able to hear a lot of different research questions and topics in one single day.

Thank you also for keeping a look at the stopwatch, this is, as I know, the hardest part of being a workshop responsible. The breaks and “after-party“ made it possible to extend discussions anyway. I’m very happy to have participated and having met you and all the participants, I’ll be definitely keeping in touch with some of them.”

LLM students in IP at Bournemouth University

Zhivka Amudzheva “Thank you very much for inviting me to this event. I found all topics very exciting. It was a pleasure for me to listen to all of the participants’ presentations.

The program of the event is available here:


Particular thanks to those who supported this event and to those who strengthened my confidence, my patience, and my multitasking skills.

I look forward to contributing to the IP community at our forthcoming event in Milan in this Seminar Series.

For more on the topic and call for papers see https://newiplawyers.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/2017-new-ip-lawyers-workshop-series/

Prof. Ruth Towse’s report on the New IP Lawyers Seminar

Some comments on the New IP Lawyers Seminar “Ethics of Intellectual Property Rights: Challenges & Solutions”

Ruth Towse

Professor in Economics of Creative Industries, CIPPM, Bournemouth University.

It was very instructive for me to take part in the New IP Lawyers Seminar at CIPPM on 18th March. I was impressed by the range and quality of the presentations. It gave me a sense of the different ways people are trained in law and in economics. What differs again is the way people trained in law and economics approach economics: law and economics deals with the economic rationale of law and laws, while economics deals with decision-making in the market economy. I regard myself as doing the latter with respect to copyright: my work is on how copyright impinges on markets in the creative industries.  We may speak of the same concepts, such as market failure, but it seems to me that their use triggers a different response.

The focus was on ethical issues and that made me think about how economics relates to that topic and to several others that came up in the Seminar, about which I have had some thoughts.

  1. What is copyright for? Is it as an incentive or a means of redistributing income between players in market, ie producers and consumers, intermediaries and users? In economic terms, is it about efficiency or equity? Put simply, does it seek to alter the allocation of resources or the distribution of the reward from creative activity? Whichever is the case, copyright is a line in the sand which favours some participants at the expenses of others. That is what it is for.


The allocation of resources is about the uses to which resources – inputs of labour, time, capital (human and physical) – are put. The underlying ‘ethic’ is that they should be used to achieve the maximum possible social welfare. That is the goal of social efficiency. Welfare may be thought of in several ways: having material goods and services, being happy, having a fulfilling life. Of course, the usual measure is income and wealth but they are just the means to the other goals.

The way resources are used obviously influences the distribution of income: if robots replace human labour, the incomes of workers fall. But governments could (and probably will have to) decide to redistribute National Income through taxes and welfare payments – or to regulate the use of robots. So the market determines the distribution of income but in most developed countries, the state intervenes to redistribute it. That is an equity goal and requires state intervention in the market economy to achieve it.

Copyright is intended to alter the way markets work, that is, it alters the allocation of resources. It encourages someone to spend their time (a valuable resource) in creative activity rather than working at something else. The value of their time in another occupation is the opportunity cost of that decision. What is not so clear is the effect on the way the resulting income is distributed income, ie the fairness or equity question.

An example

The typical market in the creative industries, say for songs, involves song-writers, music publishers and record labels: the song-writer creates a song and seeks to get it published and performed. She might do it herself or contract with an intermediary. Either way, in order to control its use and appropriate the full market value of the song in all its uses, protection is needed from potential copiers who might steal the song and copyright steps in by awarding her the exclusive right in her creation. Using that bundle of rights, she then contracts with the publisher for a royalty that is a percentage of the future earnings from the song that will accrue via the publisher and the record label. She knows the percentage but she (and they) do not know at the time of the contracts how much it will earn on the market.

So the question about the incentive is: is that percentage royalty and the guessed at[1] future earnings from the song sufficient to cause her to write a song that otherwise she would not do? It might easily take two or three years before she knows how well the song is received by the public – and of course a lifetime +70 years after her death (as a legacy for her grown up grandchildren) before she will know actually how much that the total earnings are. In most cases, she will find out in the next 10 years as most songs, if they even get published and recorded (as only a small proportion do), are no longer commercially available after that.

The question about how fair this is (the equity question) would relate to the final income from the song: does the song-writer get a fair deal from the contracts and from the market? If she is offered a 15% royalty, is that fair (as the intermediary will be getting 85%)?  If the music publishing and record industries operate in competitive markets, the rates they offer would be the highest needed to encourage the song-writer – the efficiency side. However, the song-writer has to compete with other song-writers and if there are more songs being offered than can reasonably get published and recorded, that places downward pressure on the royalty rate. Thus the degree of competition in both these markets (or writers and publishers) is part, at least, of the story about a fair reward for the creative effort (and the opportunity cost of the time spent writing songs, which rarely gets a mention in the literature). Notice that none of this refers to the costs incurred by the publishers etc.

How should the royalty rate be made fairer? By an edict that required a 50:50 split? That is the solution in various equitable remuneration arrangements eg in collecting societies (by their articles not by law), in the Rental Directive and other such. But how would that affect the incentive of the publisher to publish?

It is an interesting question whether one law or set of rights can achieve both efficiency and equity aims. Are these aims of the law compatible? I never hear this being discussed by law students. In fact, one rarely hears a discussion of what the law is actually for: it is mostly assumed that the rationale is sound and the problem is how to make the law work.

  1. To an economist, the next question is does it do the job its sets out to? Is it the incentive it is supposed to be and can it effectively make markets fairer? How do we know? The answer is that there must be empirical evidence brought to bear on these questions. This is not easy since markets in the creative industries have grown up with copyright and their business models are attuned to it. Nevertheless, we can obtain information on what creators earn from copyright royalties and how they compare with what creators would receive in another occupation eg for a song writer, teaching music? We can also find evidence on how those earnings compare with the profits of the creative industries eg music publishers and record labels.

We have done that research! But what do law students make of it? Should it influence their view of copyright law?

  1. The third observation is about the updating of copyright law to take technological progress into account. Technological progress is messy and in a market economy there are many losers as well as winners and it takes time for markets to settle on standards, consumers’ choices and so on. Of course, the law has to adapt but in my opinion it cannot be done without understanding the changes that have taken place in markets. Industrial organization is the field of economics that deals with this and I don’t think that many law students study it. A good start is Richard Caves’ book Creative Industries: contracts between commerce and law. Published in 2000, it does not take digitization into account but it shows the general principles and gives many examples of contractual arrangements and the underlying economic rationale for them.

Digitization has resulted in fundamental changes in the markets for creative goods and services. Just a few points are:

  • Digital goods are now licensed instead of being sold;
  • They are bundled with others eg song catalogues
  • Goods available for free are financed by advertising and the platform makes the profit.

These three points act to break the trade link between producer and consumer/user so that price signals do not work. As a result of these changes royalty rates are set in different ways and uses are often not contracted by the creator or a collecting society acting on her behalf.

  • Anyone can post their work online and some make sufficient income to make it their full-time occupation. This increases competition with incumbent producers.
  • Loss of gate-keeping role of publishers etc has led to increased uncertainty about quality, while ratings are done by algorithm.
  • Networks of social media and ranking systems etc make for dynamic loopbacks in consumer choice which cause increased instability in markets.
  • Consumers’ attention has become one of the main scarce resources in a sea of plenty.

These changes increase uncertainty about a work’s prospects and exacerbate the superstar effects in creative markets. There is little evidence for the long tail enabling the middle-ranking creator to serve niche markets. Fewer and bigger winners take all. Copyright has to take on board these economic as well as the technological changes.


[1] An economist would normally see this as a probability but as ‘nobody knows’ in the music (or film, book, art etc) industry, there is radical uncertainty that prevents the probability form being capable of estimation.

Two fully funded PhD studentships at CIPPM

Are you interested in pursuing interdisciplinary research in exciting IP areas? CIPPM now offers two PhD opportunities for students. General information can be found here: https://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/cippm/2017/03/09/fully-funded-phd-studentships-2/

Topic 1: Control, optimising and monetising of big data from Vehicle to Everything transport systems: legal and ethical implications and opportunities

Topic 2: Copyright and Films in the Digital Single Market. Licensing, distribution and cultural diversity in Europe

Hurry up! The elaboration of the research proposal requires time and the deadlines are approaching (Topic 1: 26th April 2017; Topic 2: 1st May 2017).

CIPPM short-term residential fellowships

The Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management is accepting applications for short-term residential fellowships to carry our independent research.

Fellowships are open to both early-career as well as experienced researchers with a specific interest in any of the focus areas of the Centre. The selected applicants will be expected to engage with CIPPM faculty and students, contributing to the Centre’s activities (including research projects) with a requirement to present their research in a faculty seminar. Priority will be given to researchers who will apply for a Marie-Curie Individual Fellowship (deadline 14 September 2017).

The fellowships are available for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of two months and should be undertaken at CIPPM, Bournemouth University before 31 July 2017.

The deadline for submitting applications is 28 February 2017. For more information, please read the call on CIPPM’s website: