Law & InnovationTuesday, May 17, 09:00 AMThe Mayflower Hotel 1127 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC 20036
The Fourth Annual Executive Branch Review Conference will be held on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. The theme of the conference is "Law & Innovation". There is no cost to attend the conference. [Register now!]
Bitcoin is dead. Long live Bitcoin. A counterintuitive feature of the groundbreaking cryptocurrency—and there are many—is that both statements may simultaneously be true. The Bitcoin economy is robust and growing, with access to Bitcoin-denominated services expanding and more and more startups and established businesses seeking to capitalize on its popularity. At the same time, the Bitcoin network—literally, the interconnected web of computers that records transactions in Bitcoin’s distributed ledger known as the “blockchain”—is showing the strain of the currency’s success, while disagreements threaten to stymie efforts to expand Bitcoin usage further.
But even as political disputes threaten disruption of the core Bitcoin blockchain, developers are beginning to introduce a new wave of innovation that has the potential to replace political stalemate with market competition. Alternative blockchains, or “alt-chains,” act as replacements for the Bitcoin network and blockchain that facilitate Bitcoin-based transactions off the core blockchain—in the same way that stocks can be traded on a myriad of competing electric trading networks, apart from primary exchanges like NYSE and NASDAQ. Alt-chains and related technologies may be central to preserving Bitcoin’s key speed and cost advantages over traditional financial networks in the years ahead.
As in many innovative fields, some of the greatest barriers to alt-chain success are legal and regulatory uncertainty, far more than technological issues. In a recent Federalist Society White Paper, David Rivkin and Andrew Grossman attempt to resolve some of this uncertainty by cataloguing the diversity of potential applications for blockchain alternatives and addressing the issues raised by alt-chains and other blockchain supplements and replacements under federal and state law. They discussed their paper with Federalist Society members on a Teleforum conference call.
Andrew M. Grossman, Partner, Baker & Hostetler LLP and Adjunct Scholar, The Cato Institute
David B. Rivkin, Jr., Partner, Baker & Hostetler LLP
Gregory S. McNeal, Associate Professor of Law and Public Policy at Pepperdine School of Law, discusses some property rights questions that are associated with drone use. Do property owners own the air above their property? Can they destroy a drone that flies onto their property? How should disputes between property owners and drone users be settled?
Continuing the trend of recent years, this Term the Supreme Court is hearing a number of cases that will determine important intellectual property rights. Our experts discussed the pending cases, and what they might mean for IP rights and the economy going forward. On broader issues, is either court more consistently in favor of strong property rights protection? Is there an explanation for the perceived IP rights dissonance between the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit? As the Supreme Court’s overall docket continues to shrink, what explains the Court’s steadily high number of intellectual property cases?
Garrard R. Beeney, Partner, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Matthew S. Hellman, Partner, Jenner & Block
Moderator: Prof. Dennis D. Crouch, Co-Director, Center for Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship, Associate Professor of Law, University of Missouri School of Law
On February 23, 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Halo Electronics v. Pulse Electronics, which was consolidated with Stryker Corp. v. Zimmer. Both of these cases involved claims of patent infringement relating to the sale or marketing of various inventions. Both also involved a determination by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that an award of enhanced damages for infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 284 was not appropriate, after applying the Circuit’s two-part objective/subjective test for willful or bad-faith infringement set forth in In re Seagate Tech., LLC.
The question before the Supreme Court is whether the Federal Circuit’s refusal to allow enhanced damages absent a finding of willfulness under its two-part test contravenes the plain meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 284, given the Supreme Court’s recent rejection of an analogous framework imposed on 35 U.S.C. § 285, the statute providing for attorneys' fee awards in exceptional cases.
To discuss the case, we have Gregory Dolin who is Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director, Center for Medicine and Law at University of Baltimore School of Law.