The Superior Court of California for the County of Santa Clara has approved the distribution of $80,000 in cy pres award funds to the UW School of Law's Shidler Center for Law, Commerce & Technology and the University of California, Berkeley School of Law's Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, to host conferences on the subjects of internet consumer protection and security breaches. The court also approved $45,000 in award funds for the UW School of Law's Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic.
Cy pres awards are often made by courts from money left unclaimed in class action lawsuits. These awards allow courts to amend the terms of a charitable trust as near as possible to the original intention of the gift and are a significant source of funding for legal aid and public interest law initiatives. The funds, sought by UW law school professors Anita Ramasastry and William Covington, were awarded as the result of an antitrust class-action lawsuit against eBay, the online auction and shopping website.
The Shidler Center, directed by Ramasastry and law professor Jane Winn, identifies and analyzes the impact of technological change on law, and examines the roles of innovation, incentives and competition in transforming domestic and global markets and legal institutions. The Center engages in national and international policy debates through active collaboration with local leaders, and recommends balanced strategies for managing the convergence of law and technology in local, national and global arenas.
Under the direction of Covington, the Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic provides students with a year long opportunity to study how public policy is developed, refined and impacts various high tech industries. The clinic works with nonprofit, governmental and policy developing organizations on projects such as crafting legislation, developing best business practices or investigating potential violations of the law.