Patents and Entrepreneurship in Business and Information Technologies

Date: Friday and Saturday, June 12 and 13, 2009

Location: George Washington University Law School, 2000 H St. NW, Washington, DC 20052 

RSVP: Primary registration is now closed due to room capacity constraints. If you register now, you will be placed on a waiting list. We will send you an email on Thursday providing you an update on your waiting list status. Please complete the online registration form if you wish to be added to the waitlist.

Sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Microsoft Corporation and the George Washington University Law School Intellectual Property Center


Patents and entrepreneurship share a fundamental connection: Both are directed towards the new, the innovative, the creative; and both are dynamic. They look forward to the future and seek to build today what will be tomorrow’s economic engine.  Historically, patents have been viewed as an important legal mechanism for fostering entrepreneurial activity. Governmental promise of exclusive rights encourages innovators to invest in risky ventures that may yield success in the future.

Today, however, a vibrant debate has arisen over whether the patent system is helpful or harmful to entrepreneurs and other innovators.  The debate is most pointed not in the well-developed fields such as mechanical, chemical and pharmaceutical innovation, but in emerging fields such as business and information technologies.  These fields have two basic similarities.  First, they emerged as major areas of engineering and technological innovation only in the last half century.  Second, while the advances in these fields can have important consequences in the physical world, the advances themselves can be viewed as less tangible than technologies of yesteryear.

This conference will focus on ongoing controversies about the modern patent system, with special attention to the debate over whether patent system helps or hinders entrepreneurs or innovators in business and information technologies.  The conference will explore issues such as whether these fields are suitable for patent rights; whether the difficulties in these fields reveal more general problems with the existing patent system; and whether the patent system can be, or should be, modified so that it better accommodates the practical needs of entrepreneurs in these and other fields.


Friday, June 12, 2009 
(Please note: Attendance, including the panels and the lunch, is limited to registered guests).


Registration and Continental Breakfast


9am - 10:30am
Nonpracticing Entities and Patent Reform: Chris Cotropia, John F. Duffy, and Scott Shane (Commentary: Joshua Sarnoff)

10:45am - 12:15pm
Empirical Studies of Software Patents: Arti Rai, Pam Samuelson, and Ted Sichelman. (Commentary: Dave Jones)

12:15pm - 1:35pm
Lunch (registered participants only) and Keynote speaker Judge Randall Rader

1:45pm - 3:15pm
Business Methods and Patentable Subject Matter:
Michael Abramowicz, Gerard Magliocca, and Kristen Osenga. (Commentary: Michael Risch)

3:30pm - 4:30pm
Business Method and Software Patents: Policymakers' Perspective:
Q. Todd Dickinson, Suzanne Michel, and John Whealan (Commentary: John Squires)

4:45pm - 5:45pm
The Problems of Patent Notice and Scope:
Edmund Kitch and Michael Meurer (Commentary: Samson Vermont)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Continental Breakfast

9:30am - 10:30am
Software Patents and Patentable Subject Matter: Kevin Collins and F. Scott Kieff. (Commentary: Robert Tiller)

10:45am - 11:45am Empirical Analysis of Business Methods:
Bronwyn Hall and Josh Lerner. (Commentary: Alex Tabborak) 


Click here for complete speaker bios [pdf]

  •  Professor Michael Abramowicz, George Washington University
  •  Professor Kevin Collins, Indiana University, Bloomington
  •  Professor Chris Cotropia, University of Richmond
  • Professor John Duffy, George Washington University
  •  Professor Bronywn Hall, University of California, Berkeley
  • Q. Todd Dickinson, Executive Director of the AIPLA 
  • David Jones, Microsoft
  • Professor F. Scott Kieff, Washington University
  •  Professor Ed Kitch, University of Virginia
  •  Professor Josh Lerner, Harvard University
  •  Professor Gerard Magliocca, Indiana University, Indianapolis
  •  Professor Michael Meurer, Boston University
  • Suzanne Michel, Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property at the Federal Trade Commission
  •  Professor Kristen Osenga, University of Richmond
  •  Professor Arti Rai, Duke University
  • Judge Randall Rader 
  • Professor Pam Samuelson, University of California, Berkeley
  • Joshua D. Sarnoff, Assistant Director of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic
  •  Professor Scott Shane, Case Western Reserve University
  •  Professor Ted Sichelman, University of California, Berkeley
  • John Squires, Chadbourne & Parke LLP
  • Alexander Tabarrok, Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University
  • Rob Tiller, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, IP for Red Hat, Inc.
  • Samson Vermont, Assistant Professor of Law, George Mason University
  • Dean Whealan,  George Washington University

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