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Celebrating 15 Years

of Intellectual Property &

Social Justice CLE

“The IP and Social Justice CLE Program was established and has been sustained by members of the Bench, Bar, and corporate and institutional supporters who envision the principles of access, inclusion, and empowerment as inherent to the social function of IP protection. This annual exploration of cutting edge developments in IP law, informed by consideration of social justice issues, is fittingly enriched by the most consistently diverse congregation of CLE IP faculty and attendees in the nation. It is a privilege to be a part of this enduring, collaborative effort to assist IP lawyers in achieving the Houstonian professional equipoise of technical proficiency in service to the greater societal good.”

Lateef- Professor Lateef Mtima

 

Much of Howard University’s history is about courageous people who put their lives on the line to open the door to opportunity not just for some people but for all. Intellectual property is all about opportunity and the protection of individual rights—opportunity based not on your ethnicity or your sexual preference, or the color of your skin, your religious beliefs, or your station in life, but instead on your creativity, your ingenuity, your intellect, and your abilities. Intellectual property is about opportunity and protecting the creative rights of all people, whoever they might be. In that sense, intellectual property has much in common with the struggle for social justice. I congratulate Howard University and Professor Lateef Mtima, the Founder and Director of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice, for fifteen years of excellence in educating the future leaders of the intellectual property bar. Judge Richard Linn

 

Thoughts from Those There at the Beginning

Read more about the start of the CLE program here

15 years ago, Howard University School of Law was pretty much an unknown on the IP front. But under the leadership of Professor Mtima and others at Howard, the IP and Social Justice CLE was inaugurated. Outside lawyers and distinguished members of the Judiciary have volunteered their time to the CLE to greatly increase the IP profile of Howard. For me, it has been enormously satisfying to watch this growth. May it continue. – Thomas Irving

 

From inspirational vision of Professor Mtima and so many others at Howard University School of Law, we celebrate the 15th Anniversary of IIPSJ’s Annual IP and Social Justice conference. The conference has benefitted from the staunch support of judges, corporate counsels, outside counsels, and of course the fabulous Howard law students. It has been an absolute privilege and honor serving as the Chair of this conference and witnessing its growth over the years. Congratulations on the 15th Anniversary! – Esther Lim


I had the honor of being part of the creation of the Institute and the many wonderful “firsts” - the first CLE program, The first internship at Finnegan Henderson, the first special edition of the law journal, the first visit to the chambers of the CAFC, the first WIPO attendance etc. - It was a tremendous amount of work for an ever evolving cause with countless unanticipated rewards that flow-through my career and life. In fifteen short years, Institute has had an immeasurable impact on a macro and micro level on society, law, lawyers, entrepreneurs, inventors, creators and justice and has enabled me to work to leave a legacy that will inspire future generations. I am forever grateful. – Tameka Simmons

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IP & SOCIAL JUSTICE THROUGH THE YEARS

Through tireless efforts of Prof. Mtima most especially, but also through the supportive and independent efforts of many the others including especially those who have supported and continue to support IIPSJ, the social justice perspective has now worked its way into the very fabric IP discourse and reform at all levels of IP law, policy, advocacy, and administration. I have been most pleased to have been able to contribute to this project for the past 15 years and plan to continue to do so for awhile yet. – Steven Jamar

2007 Intellectual Property and Social Justice Symposium

Introductory Remarks: Applying the Intellectual Property Law in the Public Interest: Copyrights And the Public Use of Software

Presentation: Granting Patents Based On Race: The Practitioner’s Role in Shaping Social Policy

2009 Intellectual Property and Social Justice Symposium Presentation: Where Intellectual Property Theory Meets ‘Outsider’ Jurisprudence–What African-American Cultural Production Can Teach IP Policy

2011 Intellectual Property and Social Justice Symposium Presentation: Intellectual Property and the Pursuit of Civil Rights: Issues & Challenges for the Digital Information Age

2014 Intellectual Property and Social Justice Luncheon Presentation: Intellectual Property Social Justice: Civil Rights and Economic Empowerment in the 21st

It has been my honor and privilege to participate in Howard’s IP and Social Justice CLE for more than ten years.  This is the only CLE of which I am aware that is focused on highlighting the intersection of intellectual property and social justice.  It is through this CLE and other work that IIPSJ demonstrates a commitment to ensuring equal access to our intellectual property systems, domestically and abroad. - Toni Y. Hickey

 

2017 Intellectual Property and Social Justice Luncheon Keynote: Property, Intellectual Property, and Social Justice: Mapping the Next Frontier

 

CLE Impact & Opportunities

The CLE programs help HUSL alumni and other practitioners develop and maintain expertise in IP practice and provide opportunities for experienced minority IP lawyers to demonstrate their expertise to an audience they might not otherwise reach. The CLE programs also provide networking opportunities for lawyers from diverse groups including attorneys from private practice, from government, from the judiciary, and from academia.

Having attended Howard University School of Law and entered into the IP profession as a patent attorney prior to the establishment of the IP & Social Justice CLE Program, I am so very honored and proud to see the impact that it has had on the students and the IP community as a whole by providing opportunities that previously were hard to come by or not available at all for diverse lawyers in IP law. – Jennifer M. Hayes

 

As a proud member of the class of 2005… I continue to take pride in this program as an essential element of my continuing legal education. The CLE is uniquely rooted in Howard’s mission of social justice, offering invaluable insights from esteemed members of the bar and bench. I am honored to join the 15th year of this program, and I look forward to returning for many years to come. – Idris McKelvey


The IIPSJ CLE event has been essential in helping to direct the trajectory of my career. Every year I have participated, through the various modules and panel discussions, I walked away with a solid grasp of the current trends in the profession. Moreover, I emerged with an understanding of the future direction of the profession. Thus, I have been able to align my professional experiences with the ever evolving field of Intellectual Property. – Ulysses Williams

I came to Howard Law School with the intent to use my law degree to effect change... Attending the IP & Social Justice CLE program ... I gained a clearer understanding of the intellectual property-related social justice issues not only concerning disenfranchised people in the United States, but around the world. It is an invaluable program and service to the larger community. – Aisha (Williams) Cassis

Prior to attending law school, I spent more than a decade in the biotechnology arena as a scientist. When I entered Howard University School of Law in 2013, I knew that I wanted to be a patent attorney, however, I did not have a strong network of mentors in the patent field. I quickly joined the Howard University School of Law, Intellectual Property Student Association, and benefited from the mentorship of Professor Lateef Mtima. By attending the IP & Social Justice CLE Program each year, I was afforded the unparalleled opportunity to forge new mentoring relationships with practicing attorneys in the IP arena, and learn about emerging IP issues. This unique experience helped guide my career and continues to do so. Currently, I am a second year associate at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP. – Candice R. Jones

Phil Hampton has graciously volunteered his time to participate in the CLE every year. 

As a student here I benefited from mentoring by Professor Mtima and participation in the CLE, and soon found my passion in the practice of trademark law. By participating as an attorney, I am able to stay up to date and involved with issues of intellectual property and social justice; while continuing the tradition of mentoring the students I meet each year. Congratulations on 15 years and I look forward to the next 15 and many more! – Tashia Bunch

 

IISPJ’s Director, Lateef Mtima, is a guest on the recent edition of the CopyThis podcast hosted by Kirby Ferguson and presented by the Re:Create Coalition. You can find the podcast along with a full description here on the Re:Create Coalition website. A portion of the description is reproduced below.

Copy This Podcast Episode 5: Copyright Drives the Beat of Social Justice

“…While many may think about copyright law in terms of music, books and movies and how to access them, Lateef Mtima, Professor of Law at the Howard University School of Law and Founder and Director of The Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice, points to the Constitution to remind listeners that copyright’s “most important function is to provide people with knowledge, to educate themselves… to share ideas and information.”…

From the Black Lives Matter movement, to the high profile “Blurred Lines” case that has pitted Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams against Marvin Gaye’s estate, and even led to varying opinions across the full spectrum of the copyright community, Lateef helps bring to light copyright discussions that are playing out in communities and the courts in real time today so be sure to tune in.”

The U.S. Copyright Office requested comments on the impact and effectiveness of the DMCA Safe Harbor provisions in 17 USC 512.  Comments submitted by Professors Lateef Mtima and Steven D. Jamar, on behalf of IIPSJ and several other organizations, can be found here.
The comments are categorized into the following themes:
- Characteristics of the Current Internet Ecosystem;
- Operation of the Current DMCA Safe Harbor System;
- Potential Future Evolution of the DMCA Safe Harbor System; and
- other developments in the law.

Professor Lateef Mtima, along with several other authors, recently released a book that is now available for purchase. Click here for more information!

In the Information Age, historically marginalized groups and developing nations continue to strive for socio-economic empowerment within the global community. Their ultimate success largely depends upon their ability to develop, protect and exploit their greatest natural resource: intellectual property. Through an exploration of the techniques used in social entrepreneurship, Intellectual Property, Entrepreneurship and Social Justice provides a framework by which historically marginalized communities and developing nations can cooperate with the developed world to establish a socially cohesive global intellectual property order. Divided into four parts, knowledgeable contributors discuss topics surrounding entrepreneurship and empowerment, education and advocacy, engagement and activism and, finally, commencement toward “IP Empowerment”. Experts in the field, scholars, law professors and students of intellectual property, human rights and international trade and development will find this book to be both resourceful and thought-provoking.


The IIPSJ Mission
"Advancing Ideas, Encouraging Enterprise, Protecting People "

The Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice was established to promote social justice in the field of intellectual property law and practice, both domestically and globally. Through core principals of access, inclusion, and empowerment, intellectual property social justice advances the social policy objectives that underlie intellectual property protection: the broadest stimulation of creative and innovative endeavor and the widest dissemination of creative works and innovative accomplishments for the greater societal good. IIPSJ proposes and supports new paradigms for the creation, management, and exploitation of knowledge resources, and works within a wide spectrum of IP stakeholders, including artists, inventors, and rights holders, legal scholars, practitioners, and policy makers, and IP entrepreneurs, purveyors, and end-users, to achieve these goals.

IIPSJ is concerned with equitable access to knowledge, health, and social development, and the effect of IP regimes upon such aspirations and interests. IIPSJ’s scope of endeavor ranges broadly and includes scholarly examination of the intellectual property law from a social justice perspective; advocacy for social-justice aware interpretation, application, and revision of the intellectual property law; initiatives to increase the diversity of the intellectual property legal bar; and programs which promote greater awareness and understanding of intellectual property protection, particularly among  historically and currently disadvantaged and underserved groups, to empower them to exploit intellectual property effectively. IIPSJ’s principal methodologies include training lawyers, social activists, and entrepreneurs to apply the tenets of social engineering to problems of intellectual property inequity and unfair exploitation and otherwise promoting IP education for marginalized and “indigenous culture” communities; disseminating public positions on important IP controversies and advocating on behalf of pertinent social justice interests; and impacting intellectual property law and policy development by interjecting issues of IP social justice into national and international IP access, trade, and enforcement dialogues and polemics.

An accredited NGO member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), IIPSJ collaborates with academic, governmental, and non-governmental entities and organizations in the pursuit of intellectual property social justice and the amelioration of the international IP status quo. IIPSJ is dedicated to the idea that both creation of and access to intellectual property are fundamental to human development and is the bedrock of the intellectual property law and policy schema for the global digital information society.


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