The William and Mary Law Review presents a symposium, The Boundaries of Intellectual Property, on February 6-7, 2009. This symposium addresses the question of the proper goals of IP law and whether the scope of our current system aligns with those goals.
As the scope of intellectual property law continues to expand, courts and scholars are increasingly confronting the question of the law’s proper boundaries. Is it appropriate, for example, for content owners to use copyright law to silence unflattering speech? Are countries’ trademark laws, which have historically been geographically limited, now essentially global trademark laws given the use of marks over the Internet? Is it consistent with the goals of patent law for the U.S. government, through the Patent and Trademark Office, to define the boundaries of what is patentable based on moral or other non-innovation-related criteria? Although such questions have been the topic of debate in the past, there has not yet been an attempt to take a systemic, unifying approach to the question of boundaries in IP law. This symposium will provide the opportunity for participants to do just that, yielding new scholarship that directly addresses the question of the proper goals of IP law and whether the scope of our current system aligns with those goals.