IIPSJ Attendance at the 64th World Intellectual Property Organization General Assemblies

(WIPO GA) (Geneva, 6-14 July 2023)

By Dr. Metka Potočnik (she/her/hers), Senior Lecturer in Law, Wolverhampton Law School

IIPSJ attended the 64th World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assemblies (GA), in their capacity as the WIPO Accredited Observer. IIPSJ attended the official hearings at the WIPO Headquarters in Geneva, with the Associate Director for International Programmes, Dr Metka Potočnik, attending the length of the proceedings in person. These assemblies brought together a record number of delegates, with over 1,200 delegates in attendance, which exceeded the pre-Covid numbers of attendance in the General Assemblies. A full list of participants is available here, and all the sessions are available for viewing here.

IIPSJ previously observed several WIPO meetings online and took this GA as an opportunity to create strategic partnerships with Member States and other stakeholders, interested in creating access, inclusion and empowerment for under-represented creators and innovators in the global eco-system. IIPSJ representative attended the 10th WIPO-NGO Stakeholder Dialogue, which was organised in parallel with the 64th WIPO GA and took place on Monday, 10 July 2023, at WIPO New Building. WIPO Director General Tang and other WIPO experts met with over 40 Accredited Observers and NGOs, in discussing important issues, which require a multi-stakeholder response. The event has been placed in the spotlight for its importance, and more can be read here.

IIPSJ is aiming to contribute to the future discussions in WIPO, with the aim of building a more inclusive WIPO eco-system. The IIPSJ team are working towards a meaningful participation in the 44th Session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCRR) (see here) and the 31st Session of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) (see here). If you are interested in contributing to IIPSJ work in this space, do contact the IIPSJ directly.

2023 IP & Social Justice CLE Recap

“IIPSJ’s annual conferences played an important role in developing a social justice perspective in intellectual property law and policy. The Institute’s mission is a vital one”- Honorable Raymond T. Chen

These were some of the key reflections to come out of the 20th Annual Intellectual Property and Social Justice CLE Conference, held on March 3, 2023. The event marked more than two decades of increasing the education surrounding the nexus of intellectual property and social justice as well as broadening the knowledge of intellectual property practitioners across the globe.

As part of the 20th anniversary, we celebrated the program and Institute founders with awards. IP Social Justice Lifetime Achievement Awards were given to Thomas L. Irving and Steven D. Jamar.

And we honored Professor Lateef Mtima with an award as well that read:

Presented to Lateef Mtima

In recognition of your unwavering commitment to increasing diversity in intellectual property law and guiding the next generation of attorneys especially those from historically black colleges and universities

In appreciation of your contributions to the field of intellectual property law through your superior and thought-provoking authorship on the topic of intellectual property and social justice

In acknowledgement of your ongoing service to the intellectual property legal community through your teachings as a renowned lecturer and leadership as founder of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice.

For the CLE program, key attendee sessions included our annual IP Year in Review, social justice luncheon sessions: Unleashing American Innovation Act and Highlights from the Innovator Diversity Pilots Conference, as well as the annual Donald R. Dunner Judicial Panel, Four panelists sit at head table during HBCU Tech Law Summitwhich included insights and reflections from the Honorable Leonard P. Stark, Judge with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Honorable Scott R. Boalick, Chief Administrative Patent Judge with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Honorable Bryan F. Moore, Administrative Law Judge with the United States International Trade Commission, and the Honorable Susan G. Braden, Former Chief Judge (ret.) with the United States Court of Federal Claims.

The IP and Social Justice CLE Conference benefits from participation from all demographics within the IP legal community: attorneys in private practice, in-house counsel corporate departments, government agencies, and public interest NGOs, as well as members of the judiciary and government officials. In addition to the keynote sessions, this year’s breakout sessions included networking and discussions with counsel from Meta, Under Armour, J.P. Morgan, 3M Company, Freddie Mac, Visa and Pall Corporation, affording many the opportunity to gauge the current climate on the field in terms of fair use, trade secrets, and adding value as in-house counsel.

Year after year, the mantra of the conference remains the same – to expand the opportunities for minority attorneys to pursue careers and distinguish themselves in the field of intellectual property law. The Conference’s core objectives include:

● Educating minority and other IP attorneys on current developments in the law in an environment that highlights the social justice obligations of IP law.

● Providing minority and other attorneys in government, civil rights, public interest, and/or non-profit practice a free/nominal fee opportunity to develop IP practice skills.

● Providing an opportunity for experienced minority IP lawyers to demonstrate their expertise in the field to audiences they might not otherwise reach, while offering professional networking opportunities for minority and other IP attorneys.

Studies continue to confirm that African Americans and other minorities are severely underrepresented in intellectual property legal practice, notwithstanding the important contributions these communities make to intellectual property production and use in our society. Contributions from participants and speakers alike have enhanced the significance of the conference as the only intellectual property CLE program of its kind. Erika H. Arner, Managing Partner of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP said, “Now more than ever we need organizations like IIPSJ, taking concrete and impactful actions to advance social justice and IP.”
The 2023 CLE sessions were:

  • IP Law Year in Review – Trademark, Patent, and Copyright
  • Donald R. Dunner Judicial Panel
  • Highlights from the Innovator Diversity Pilots Conference
  • Unleashing American Innovation Act
  • Leading with IP and Adding Value to Corporations
  • How Fair Is Fair Use? A Discussion About Andy Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith
  • In House Counsel Discussion on Trade Secret Law
  • Updates on College Athletes NIL & Celebrities Right of Publicity
  • Ethics

View the full list of videos here.

Thank you to our sponsors!

2023 HBCU IP & Tech Law Summit Recap

On March 2, 2023, IIPSJ, co-host Perkins Coie, and several sponsors, hosted the 5th Annual Microsoft Technology Summit to provide a comprehensive “diversity pipeline” experience for law students. During the Technology Summit, law students learned about new opportunities in intellectual property(IP) and technology law and policy practice.

Acting Principal Deputy National Cyber Director of the Office of the National Cyber Director Kemba Eneas Walden delivered the keynote speech to attendees alongside Founder of the HBCU IP & Tech Law Summit Charlie Bingham for a fireside chat. Acting Director Walden recounted her journey to her current role as a Hampton University graduate and addressed issues of cybersecurity that her office plans to handle as a result of President Joe Biden’s newest initiative.

The Summit consists of two key components: a full day of student-focused IP and technology law updates with networking and recognition of student academic and extracurricular achievement in these fields, including the presentation of “micro” scholarship awards paid directly to students. This year, the following were recipients of awards:

  • D&I in Tech Ally Award
    • Cameron Benton, NCCU
  • Tech Law Policy Achievement Award
    • Kayla Mitchell, 3L NCCU
    • Samuel Cadet, HUSL
  • Outstanding Achievement in IP Social Justice Award
    • Daria Fogan, HUSL
    • DeNashia Robinson, HUSL
    • Brianna George, NCCU
  • The IP & Tech Law Summit IP Social Engineer Award
    • Michee Jacobs, HUSL
    • Askhari Little, HUSL
    • Tyrrell Ufot, NCCU
  • The IP & Tech Law Summit IP Achievement Award
    • Leandre’a Scott, NCCU

While the Summit was initially established for Howard Law students, it has since been expanded to include students at four historically black colleges and university law schools. In 2022 a pilot initiative was added to expand the scope of the program to assist students in finding internship opportunities in IP practice, and to provide internship stipends where the internships secured are uncompensated.

Some of the subjects covered during the event included data privacy, cryptocurrency, and blockchain and were presented by experts in the intellectual property field including executives from Uber, Perkins Cole, and Reed Smith hosting sessions such as:

  • The Impact of Innovative Technologies on Society and the Practice of Law
  • The Impact of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain on Society and the Practice of Law
  • Paying it Forward: A Day in the Life of a Tech Lawyer

Find the full list of videos here.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Black and white photo with prolific artist Andy Warhol standing on the left and photographer

Warhol v Goldsmith: Supreme Court Upholds that Every Artist Matters, Photographer Goldsmith Protected Warhol Case

Every Artist Matters: The Supreme Court Protects Photographer Goldsmith in the Warhol Litigation

The Supreme Court decided today that the late Andy Warhol infringed upon the rights of photographer Lynn Goldsmith when he used her photograph of music legend Prince to create a silkscreen rendering of the late artist. The Court agreed with Goldsmith that Warhol’s use was not permitted under the copyright doctrine of Fair Use, which allows the use of a copyrighted work without the creator’s permission under certain circumstances.

“Today’s decision ensures the vitality of the Fair Use doctrine while protecting artists, particularly marginalized and developing artists, from the distortion of the doctrine into a tool for the misappropriation of one artist’s work by another artist with greater fame and public recognition,” said Lateef Mtima, Director of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice. “Elite patrons of the arts often gravitate to the work of famous artists, and in many situations are ignorant of the predecessor works produced by marginalized and lesser-known artists and which have been unfairly misappropriated by artists of renown. The Institute filed an amicus brief in support of photographer Goldsmith to support the proper application of the Fair Use doctrine as a critical tool to promote learning through and creative building upon artistic and literary achievement, while respecting the legitimate ownerships rights and artistic interests of creators in their work.”

The Supreme Court’s decision can be found here.



The Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice works to promote social justice in the field of intellectual property law and practice, both domestically and globally. Advocating for core principles of socially equitable access, inclusion, and empowerment throughout the IP ecosystem, IIPSJ’s work ranges broadly and includes scholarly examination of IP law from a social justice perspective; advocacy for social justice cognizance in the shaping and implementation of IP legislation and policy; initiatives to increase the diversity of the IP bar; and programs which promote greater awareness and understanding of IP protection, particularly among historically and currently disadvantaged and underserved groups, to empower them to exploit intellectual property effectively.  

Wikimedia Highlights WRKE Fellow Contributions in Inaugural Year Review

Interested in learning about the “Why?” behind the Race and Knowledge Equity Fellowship program? Our partners at Wikimedia published a great piece on the Equity Fund where current IIPSJ fellow, Shreyanka Mirchandani Changaroth also received a special mention and quote:


IIPSJ’s inaugural Wikimedia Race and Knowledge Equity Fellow is Shreyanka Mirchandani Changaroth, a legal expert who has lived and worked in Singapore, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and is called to the Singapore bar. Shreyanka will lead work with IIPSJ to explore ways to impact IP policy in the US through community engagement. “We can now focus our efforts on tackling grassroots community education around intellectual property, something that goes to the very core of racial equity in the technological society,” said Shreyanka, when describing the new Fellowship.

Read their full article below.

[CLOSED 8/11/23] Applications Now Open: 2023-24 Wikimedia Race and Knowledge Equity Fellow

The inaugural year for the Wikimedia Race and Knowledge Equity (WRKE) Fellowship has been in a success. Now, thanks to continued generous support from our partners at the Wikimedia Foundation Knowledge Equity Fund, IIPSJ is pleased to announce that we are currently accepting applications to hire a new WRKE Fellow for the 2023-2024 year. You can view and download the full position announcement here.

Also in the coming weeks, be on the look out for resulting fellowship research and scholarship materials from our current fellow, Shreyanka Mirchandani Changaroth.

Questions and concerns may be directed to Tashia Bunch at Tashia.bunch@iipsj.org.

three summer interns headshots

Blog Post: 2022 HBCU Summer Interns join IIPSJ

2022 Summer Interns

Phoebe Ogunwobi is a rising 2L at North Carolina Central School of Law. Phoebe was born and raised in London, United Kingdom. She has a MPS in Paralegal studies from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a BA in Political Science from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Before attending law school Phoebe worked in both law and technology fields and hopes to continue to strengthen her interests in Intellectual Property and International Law.

Leandre’a Scott is a rising second-year student at North Carolina University School of Law. Leandre’a graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She has an interest in Intellectual Property law and aims to complete a patent clinic in the fall. Leandre’a strives to be a powerful force in anything she does and enjoys learning new things and then utilizing that knowledge for the better. Leandre’a is excited to continue to learn and grow within the IP community.

Leeandria Williams is an evening student at Southern University Law Center where she is a member of the Intellectual Property Law Association and the Fashion Law Society. She currently works in the client development department at Akerman LLP as a Senior Communications Specialist. A native of Houston, Texas, she received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Howard University in 2012. Outside of her professional and educational duties, she is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and volunteers at various community events. She also proudly represents her hometown as the reigning Ms. Black Houston USA 2022.

Blog Post Legislation Update

Proposed legislation and IP social justice

Device Access for Every American Act
The Device Access for Every American Act was introduced to both houses of Congress on September 14, 2021. The bill, which was introduced by Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Congressman Donald McEachin of Virginia, claims to authorize the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to create programming that allows Americans in need to redeem $400 vouchers so that they may buy laptops, tablets, computers or other devices. This legislation includes a proposal for $5 billion in federal funding for the establishment and implementation of the program. It would permit two low-income individuals per household to receive the vouchers so that families are able to have multiple devices. This effort, the Act additionally claims, would direct the FCC to integrate with device retailers as program participants, promote the program, and assist eligible Americans with enrolling in the program. Read the full text of the bill here.

Unleashing American Innovators Act of 2021
On September 21, 2021, U.S. Senators Thom Tillis and Patrick Leahy introduced The Unleashing American Innovators Act of 2021 as part of a bipartisan effort to amend the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act by addressing satellite offices of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). The bill aims to expand access to the patent system for those who wish to participate in it by proposing the establishment of a sixth regional office in the Southeastern U.S. and creating “community outreach” offices around the country to provide support to potential patent seekers. If passed, the Act would create a program for first-time patent applicants which would create additional resources for assisting applicants with an application following a denial. The bill also seeks to reduce statutorily required fees for “small and micro entities” through amendments to the language of 35 U.S.C. 41(h) and the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. Read the full text of the bill here.

Pride in Patent Ownership Act
Accompanying their introduction of the Unleashing American Inventors Act of 2021, U.S. Senators Thom Tillis and Patrick Leahy introduced the Pride in Patent Ownership Act to “ensure that the public has access to the true owner of a patent.” The bill aims to resolve the issue of costly litigation that parties undergo in identifying the beneficial owner of a patent by promoting transparency and creating a mandatory reporting requirement for patent owners. The reporting requirement would apply to the initial issuance of a patent and any subsequent transactions which results in a change in the “true ownership” of the patent. The mandatory reporting requirement, according to the bill’s official press release, would prove beneficial in instances where small businesses hope to identify the true patent owner for purposes of obtaining a license. Read the full text of the bill here.

Blog Post UIC Law Name Change

UIC Drops John Marshall Name

by Delaney Halvey & IIPSJ Staff

Beginning on July 1st, 2021, The John Marshall Law School will no longer exist as it has for 122 years. The board of trustees voted in late May to rename the school University of Illinois Chicago School of Law, after a months-long review process spurred on by the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement after the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020.

The school’s original namesake, John Marshall, was not always widely viewed as a controversial historical figure. The 19th century jurist is referenced in the naming of more than a dozen other schools in the US, and has long been esteemed for his role in forming the American judicial system in his 34 year tenure as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. However, Marshall also owned slaves for most of his life and rendered a number of judicial decisions in the favor of slave owners, a reality recognized by several petitions circulating online regarding this and other “John Marshall” institutions.¹

UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis said of the change that a “thorough and carefully studied process [was followed] that included input from all corners of the institution and beyond, considered issues of racial injustice and aimed to ensure that our university continues to be a place where diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity are supported and advanced.” The change leaves only two law schools bearing Marshall’s name: Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and the Cleveland Marshall College of Law. As reported by the National Jurist, “a spokesperson for Atlanta’s John Marshall said of the move: ‘Our Board of Directors is aware of UIC John Marshall’s decision and has no further comment at this time.’ Cleveland Marshall has also declined to comment. Earlier, it announced it was forming a law school name committee to look into the appropriateness of the name.”²

Expressive works of historical tribute and affiliation can implicate complex issues of IP Social Justice. Questions can arise as to the messages they intend to communicate, including the actions they intend to honor, and the attendant effect upon the mandate of equitable access, inclusion, and empowerment inherent to the social function of the IP system. These issues can be as multifaceted as the lives of the historical figures involved, and there is no one size fits all solution. Instead, resolution of these issues begins with the individual or institutional will to engage in difficult conversations toward forging, or re-forging, the national identity. The social breadth and significance of IP protection is germane to these conversations, and every stakeholder in the IP ecosystem has an interest in their conclusions. We encourage you to join IIPSJ in participating in and helping to shape this national discourse.

[1] https:/https://www.acslaw.org/expertforum/no-law-school-should-be-named-for-john-marshall/ 

[2] https://www.nationaljurist.com/national-jurist-magazine/uic-drops-john-marshall-name-citing-slave-owning-past