TechLaw with Progressive Minds
Seminar on cutting-edge technology, law, and public policy issues. (1 unit)
Fridays: 11:00am-12:15pm
Location: Gates B12
By: Prof. John Mitchell and Ruchika Agrawal
Questions, comments, or suggestions? Email Ruchika.

Schedule for Spring Quarter 2009-2010

April 2, 2010:

Is a confluence of business models and laws pushing us from the innovative, competitive, generative platform of the personal computer to a world of "walled gardens" and "information appliances" where competition and innovation are controlled and monitored by the "platform owner"? Fred von Lohmann will discuss these trends and what they might mean for the near future of computing.

Mr. von Lohmann is a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, specializing in intellectual property matters. In that role, he has represented programmers, technology innovators, and individuals in a variety of copyright and trademark litigation, including MGM v. Grokster, decided by the Supreme Court in 2005. He is also involved in EFF's efforts to educate policy-makers regarding the proper balance between intellectual property protection and the public interest in fair use, free expression, and innovation. He has appeared on CNN, CNBC, ABC's Good Morning America, and Fox News O'Reilly Factor and has been widely quoted in a variety of national publications.

April 9, 2010:

Paul Grewal will provide an overview and survey of intellectual property laws. He will cover the basics of United States intellectual property law, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. Mr. Grewal will address the public policy underlying the protection of intellectual property and compare different uses of intellectual property to protect different interests.

Mr. Grewal is a trial lawyer focusing on technology litigation. He has represented clients including SAP, Symantec, Sun Microsystems, and Qualcomm in federal district and appellate courts across the United States. He has substantial experience advising clients regarding patent, licensing, copyright, antitrust, and trade secret misappropriation issues. He also has substantial experience in reexamination proceedings before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, including pro bono reexaminations on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

April 16, 2010:

Why has identity theft, despite years of legal and technical interventions, remained at 2003 levels? Chris Hoofnagle argues in "Internalizing Identity Theft" (forthcoming 2010 UCLA JOLT) that credit grantors find it efficient to ignore signals of fraud. Mr. Hoofnagle argues that credit grantors should be strictly liable for fraud: grantors are the least cost avoiders in new account issuance, individuals cannot insure against the risk of fraud, and since grantors are completely in control of the credit decision-making process, consumers have no way to prevent identity theft.

Mr. Hoofnagle is a nationally recognized expert in information privacy law. He has testified before the U.S. Congress and the California Senate and Assembly numerous times on social security number privacy and credit transactions. A regular contributor to print, radio and television articles, Mr. Hoofnagle has provided commentary for over 1,000 news stories in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, National Public Radio, ABC News and other major media outlets. Mr. Hoofnagle is senior staff attorney to the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic and senior fellow with the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology.

April 23, 2010:

Should computer programs be eligible for patent protection? How about business methods? Pamela Samuelson will discuss the United States law on and public policy underlying patent-eligible subject matter. Professor Samuelson will specifically discuss the Bilski v. Kappos case, which is presently pending before the Supreme Court and has stirred up significant controversy in an area that the Supreme Court has not addressed in decades. The question in Bilski v. Kappos is whether a method for hedging risks of price fluctuations of commodities is eligible for patent protection.

Pamela Samuelson is a Professor at the University of California at Berkeley with a joint appointment in the School of Information and the School of Law. She is also Co-Director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. Her principal area of expertise is intellectual property law. She has written and spoken extensively about the challenges that new information technologies are posing for public policy and traditional legal regimes and is an advisor for the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic. Since 2002, she has also been an honorary professor at the University of Amsterdam.

April 30, 2010:

Richard Stallman will talk about "A Free Digital Society." Activities directed at ``including'' more people in the use of digital technology are predicated on the assumption that such inclusion is invariably a good thing. It appears so, when judged solely by immediate practical convenience. However, if we also judge in terms of human rights, whether digital inclusion is good or bad depends on what kind of digital world we are to be included in. If we wish to work towards digital inclusion as a goal, it behooves us to make sure it is the good kind.

Richard Stallman launched the development of the GNU operating system (see in 1984. GNU is free software: everyone has the freedom to copy it and redistribute it, as well as to make changes either large or small. The GNU/Linux system, basically the GNU operating system with Linux added, is used on tens of millions of computers today. Dr. Stallman has received the ACM Grace Hopper Award, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer award, and the Takeda Award for Social/Economic Betterment, as well as several honorary doctorates.

May 7, 2010:

Jim Bennett will discuss trials in our legal system. He will particularly focus on trials involving complex technical issues, the role experts play, and the challenge of translating complexity into simple, persuasive trial presentations. Finally, Mr. Bennett will discuss the nature of cases that actually make it to trial, as opposed to settling beforehand.

Mr. Bennett is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He has first-chaired over 30 complex commercial jury trials, with a celebrated record of successful victories through settlements and verdicts. He was the recipient of the California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award in 2008, and has been listed as one of Northern California's top 100 lawyers for General Litigation in San Francisco Magazine. Mr. Bennett is also a Partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP.

May 14, 2010:

The Google Book Search (GBS) settlement proposal is a groundbreaking application of class action law that would create the world's most comprehensive digital library, while arguably providing Google with privileged access to millions of books without competition. This case has wide impacts on interpretations of copyright and international treaty obligations, and has generated statements of interest ranging from individual authors to the Federal Republic of Germany. Mr. Brantley will discuss what's at stake in the arguments, the perspectives of the various participants (authors, publishers, technology companies, and others), the history of the initiative and resulting controversy, and possible next steps.

Peter Brantley is the Director of the Bookserver Project at the Internet Archive, a San Francisco-based not for profit library, and the co-founder of the Open Book Alliance. He serves on the board of the International Digital Publishing Forum, the standards setting body for digital books. Peter has significant experience with academic research libraries and digital library development programs, and was previously the Executive Director of the Digital Library Federation, a not for profit membership organization of research and national libraries. He's given presentations on GBS in many forums including the U.S House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the European Commission's Copyright Unit.

May 21, 2010:

Karl Kramer will specifically focus on strategies in enforcing patent rights and defending against patent rights, providing an overview and then discussing general themes and challenges. Mr. Kramer will provide insights on how to build evidence to support a patent infringement case as well as how to defend against one. He will also address alternative venues for patent-related legal disputes, including re-examination proceedings at the United States Patent & Trademark Office and hearings at the United States International Trade Commission.

Mr. Kramer is a Partner at the law firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP. His practice concentrates on complex commercial litigation and trials, with a particular focus on intellectual property matters, including patent and trade secret litigation for high-technology clients. Mr. Kramer's work includes the representation of plaintiffs and defendants. He has handled cases and trials for clients in a broad range of technology industries, including biotechnology, computers, networking, and semiconductors. Mr. Kramer has represented numerous corporations in intellectual property disputes and trials, including Altera Corporation, Fujitsu Ltd., Funai Electric Co. Ltd., Intel Corporation, Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics, Inc., Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd., and Synaptics, Inc. Mr. Kramer has also represented Stanford University.

May 28, 2010:

David Dill will address reliable and publicly verifiable elections in the United States. He will discuss problems with relying on electronic voting machines to record and count our votes, without the backup of a voter-verifiable audit trail. Next, Professor Dill will point to reasonable and achievable solutions. Finally, he will provide a list of actions voters can take to ensure that all their votes count accurately in future elections.

David Dill is Professor of Computer Science and, by courtesy, Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He has been on the faculty at Stanford since 1987. He has an S.B. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1979), and an M.S and Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon University (1982 and 1987). His primary research interests include the theory and application of formal verification techniques to system designs, including hardware, protocols, and software. Professor Dill has been working actively on policy issues in voting technology since 2003. He is the author of the "Resolution on Electronic Voting", which calls for a voter-verifiable audit trail on all voting equipment, and which has been endorsed by thousands of people, including many of the top computer scientists in the U.S. He has served on the California Secretary of State's Ad Hoc Task Force on Touch-Screen voting, the Citizens DRE Oversight Board of the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters, and on the IEEE P1583 Voting Equipment Standards Committee. He has testified on electronic voting before the U.S. Senate and the Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by Jimmy Carter and James Baker III. He is the founder of the Verified Voting Foundation and and is on the board of those organizations. In 2004, he received the Electronic Frontier Foundation's "Pioneer Award" for "for spearheading and nurturing the popular movement for integrity and transparency in modern elections."

June 4, 2010:

Gio Wiederhold will discuss "Valuing and Offshoring IP for Tax reduction" and present how intellectual property is easily transferred globally. Any such transfers are made to tax havens, and have a significant economic effect. A recent Business Week article [17 May 2010, p.62] described how a pharmaceutical company avoids paying 2/3 of its expected taxes, but failed to explain why the process is legal, even if objectionable, because of IP transfers. Most major US electronics, software companies, and banks use similar methods, without shareholders and employees being aware of where corporate assets are located and how they are employed. As part of the presentation Gio will sketch how IP is to be valued. It is clear that it will often be misvalued.

Gio is an emeritus professor in CS, with courtesy appointments in EE and Medicine. He first came to Stanford in 1965 as a lecturer and system designer and implementor. He joined the faculty in 1976. Since his retirement he has been consulting through MITRE corporation for the U.S. Treasury.A 2006 CACM paper covers software valuation and a forthcoming CACM paper covers IP and capital flow when offshoring. Other related papers can be found on his website.