Again in 2018, I made the case for serving to in the present day’s excessive schoolers develop a degree of IP literacy. Why? As a result of “IP literacy is a necessary talent for anybody hoping to achieve in the present day’s financial system, no matter their chosen discipline or enterprise,” and younger People in the present day — with their technological facility and understanding of the function of enormous firms within the world financial system — are primed to rapidly grasp IP ideas and see how IP points come into play of their every day lives. However somebody must be keen to show the topic, at the same time as “having a standalone IP literacy course alongside the traces of the elective class I’ve been instructing at my highschool for the previous few years, or just incorporating IP literacy into current know-how, science, or coding-type programs is immaterial” by way of ensuring college students are uncovered to this all-important material. What was true in 2018 stays simply as true in the present day, at the least by way of the significance of fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in in the present day’s youth, whereas arming them to compete within the financial system of tomorrow.
As I nonetheless have the pleasure of instructing the highschool IP survey course I mentioned in that 2018 column, I wished to report on a current classroom expertise that I believe highlights simply how simple it may be to get college students enthralled with IP legislation, thereby growing their IP literacy. Yearly, along with having my college students take part in a mock IP dispute as a part of the category, I additionally attempt to discover a possibility to show them to an precise oral argument in a case of import to the IP world. Earlier than this 12 months, I’d select both a juicy federal circuit argument, ideally associated to a difficulty we had mentioned in school, or typically a ninth Circuit argument on a smooth IP situation of significance. In my expertise, the scholars tended to favor the visible facet of the ninth Circuit over the auditory expertise of a federal circuit argument, despite the fact that there may be not a lot of visible curiosity in seeing a lawyer at a podium (or of their workplace within the COVID-era Zoom arguments) answering questions from three judges. However I assume my college students additionally favor YouTube to podcasts.
This 12 months, I aimed for a little bit of an enhanced expertise for each myself and the scholars. To start out, I seemed for a pending Supreme Courtroom case involving an IP situation that will be of curiosity to my college students. Fortunately, such a case was not onerous to search out this 12 months, within the type of the trademark parody case involving Jack Daniels and a chewy canine toy nonetheless obtainable on the market in the dead of night recesses of the e-commerce realm. As can be anticipated, none of my college students have been whiskey aficionados, however we have been in a position to have some good conversations in school on questions of parody, trademark bullying, and even what degree of buyer confusion rises to the extent of a Lanham Act violation within the context of the case. Whereas we lined these points within the fall semester, at the back of my thoughts I at all times meant to make the most of the chance to take heed to the SCOTUS oral argument on the case, provided that the scholars have been aware of the problems.
Initially, I hoped to take heed to the argument reside with my class, however logistical points made that an unworkable choice — which was a blessing in disguise, since I used to be then in a position to assessment each the transcript of the argument in addition to quite a lot of discovered dialogue of what transpired within the argument within the IP and normal media. That helped me plan out a extra productive listening session, which was held over two class intervals this previous week. To start out, I launched my college students to the function of oral argument in serving to appellate courts resolve the problems earlier than them, in addition to why this specific case garnered a lot exterior curiosity within the type of amicus briefs and the federal government’s involvement. We seemed on the stellar biographies of the arguing legal professionals and mentioned what goes into a number one appellate follow. Then it was time to take heed to snippets of the argument.
From the outset, the scholars have been engaged and listening intently. It helped that the opening presentation was by a legendary oral advocate, Lisa Blatt — and that the SCOTUS justices didn’t maintain again in participating along with her. My college students appreciated how she framed the case for the Supreme Courtroom, in addition to her demonstrated talent in taking over the justices’ questions, first by responding on to what was requested, adopted by ensuring to advance the arguments that favored her shopper’s place. The scholars loved her repartee with sure justices, whereas additionally being cut up on whether or not her argument model betrayed an excessive amount of familiarity with the courtroom, as some charged her with after the argument. We additionally listened to snippets of the argument involving her opposing counsel, Bennett Cooper, together with the humorous change when Justice Gorsuch expressed shock that his provide of a win was being rejected in favor of the “landslide” victory that he was searching for on behalf of his shopper. Similtaneously they have been having fun with the moments of levity, it was apparent that the scholars have been additionally appreciating the extent of preparation proven by each advocates and the courtroom, in addition to the truth that the courtroom was as involved, if no more, with the impression of its resolution on different instances than on the actual case being argued earlier than it.
In the end, the time flew by and I gained a newfound appreciation of the pedagogical advantage of utilizing an precise oral argument as a instructing instrument for highschool college students. There have been a number of components that I believe contributed to the success of the train, beginning with the truth that they went into the argument aware of the case being argued. Second, my listening to the argument upfront and having a way for tips on how to define the expertise was important in maximizing the expertise for the scholars. Third, having an argument the place expert counsel was engaged with a probing bench helped preserve the scholars’ curiosity within the proceedings at a excessive degree. Taken collectively, the train was an amazing instance of how we might help encourage IP literacy, simply by asking college students to do some studying by listening.
Please be at liberty to ship feedback or inquiries to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Twitter: @gkroub. Any matter strategies or ideas are most welcome.
Gaston Kroub lives in Brooklyn and is a founding associate of Kroub, Silbersher & Kolmykov PLLC, an mental property litigation boutique, and Markman Advisors LLC, a number one consultancy on patent points for the funding neighborhood. Gaston’s follow focuses on mental property litigation and associated counseling, with a robust concentrate on patent issues. You’ll be able to attain him at email@example.com or comply with him on Twitter: @gkroub.