Center for Advanced Study & Research on Intellectual Property

 

CASRIP Newsletter - Spring 2007, Volume 14, Issue 2

Students Argue Patent Case Before Judge Rader in Japan

By Ewa M. Davison

In early March, six J.D. students from the University of Washington School of Law attended the Waseda Law School Transnational Intellectual Property Program.  With generous funding from Waseda as well as from the Washington Law School Foundation, we traveled to Tokyo to explore comparative patent law issues with prominent judges, professors, and attorneys from around the globe.  Also in attendance were law students from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, and from law schools in Taiwan, Japan, and Korea.

The Program began with a comparison of patent exhaustion in the United States, the European Union, and Japan. Presentations by Judge Randal Rader of the Federal Circuit, Professor Heinz Goddar of Bremen University, and our own Professor Toshiko Takenaka helped prepare us for a mock trial the following day.  With Professor Takenaka serving admirably in the roll of bailiff, Judge Rader presided over a trial based on the facts of the Japanese IP High Court’s recent decision in Canon v. Recycle Assist. Despite an audience vote to the contrary, UW students representing the patentee prevailed under U.S. contract law based on a license accompanying sale of the patented product. In commentary following J. Rader’s decision, Professor Goddar explained that a German court would have reached the same conclusion—but under patent exhaustion principles.

The following day of the Program was dedicated to the Transnational IP Symposium, attended by students and a number of Japanese attorneys and judges.  The morning panel consisted of four judges—Judge Rader, Judge Kent Jordan of the Third Circuit, Judge Tomokatsu Tsukahara of the Japanese IP High Court, and Judge Ryuichi Shitara of the Tokyo District Court.  All four panelists discussed ramifications of the principle of territoriality.  The afternoon panelists—law professors from the United States, Germany, Taiwan, and Korea—discussed their respective judiciary’s approaches to awarding monetary and injunctive relief.  A reception for speakers and students followed, complete with a traditional “kampai” toast.

After a day off for sightseeing, the Program resumed with a wealth of offerings.  Professor R. Polk Wagner discussed the nonobviousness requirement for patentability, soon to be addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Jordan spent a last afternoon in Tokyo sharing his thoughts regarding the exclusive rights regime under U.S. patent law.  Professors San Jo Jong of Seoul National University and Ming-Yan Shieh of National Taiwan University presented overviews of Korean and Taiwanese intellectual property law, respectively.  Professor Jong’s discussion of the challenges of litigating a copyright dispute involving a North Korean author and South Korean heirs proved particularly fascinating.  And Professor Gideon Parchomovsky continued the copyright theme by proposing a new strategy for reinvigorating the fair use doctrine.

Following a final overview of Japanese intellectual property law by Professor Takenaka, the UW students rushed back to Seattle to prepare for winter quarter finals.  Those frantic few days prior to exams were nonetheless brightened by memories of fresh-from-the-sea sushi, the incomparable vibrancy and energy of the largest city in the world, and the lasting friendships we formed with our international counterparts.

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Last updated 4/27/2012