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Program in Intellectual Property Law

Women in IP Law

Many prominent women attorneys, including Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the United States Supreme Court, have commented publicly on the barriers that until very recently stood between women and positions in the upper echelons of the legal profession. Those barriers are slowly being eroded, and nowhere is this more evident than in the field of intellectual property law. Of course, many challenges remain. And the Program in Chicago-Kent Program in Intellectual Property Law, in conjunction with two student organizations (the Intellectual Property Law Society and Women in Law), has for the past two years hosted a panel discussion and reception on the topic of Women in the Practice of Intellectual Property Law. This year’s event will take place on October 8.

The Chicago-Kent Program in Intellectual Property Law is also pleased to have recently welcomed to the school several women who are leaders in the field of intellectual property law. Our guests have been leading practitioners, academicians, officers of the United States Government, and professors at leading law schools.

Professors Jane Ginsburg and Rochelle Cooper Dreyfuss are recognized as two of the leading thinkers in intellectual property law. Prof. Jane Ginsburg has authored casebooks on copyright and trademark and unfair competition law, amongst others, and teaches French and American intellectual property law in both countries. Her works particularly emphasize the impact of the digital age and the Internet on copyright. Prof. Rochelle Cooper Dreyfuss teaches and researches issues pertaining to the overlap of science and the law, as well as a variety of issues in U.S. and international patent law. She is a member of the American Association of University Professors’ Intellectual Property Strike Force, and has published several books and articles on aspects of intellectual property law.

In 2001, Professors Dreyfuss and Ginsburg drafted a draft treaty on jurisdiction and judgments applicable to intellectual property law, which was prepared against the backdrop of the draft treaty being considered by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. This treaty was presented at a symposium organized by the Chicago-Kent College of Law on "Constructing International Intellectual Property Law: The Role of National Courts" in Chicago in October 2001. Since then, the American Law Institute has appointed Professors Dreyfuss and Ginsburg as co-reporters on a project to develop principles of jurisdiction, choice of law, and recognition of judgements in matters of intellectual property law, and that project builds upon the treaty presented at the October 2001 symposium.

Last semester, we welcomed two leading intellectual property policymakers to the school. Anne H. Chasser, the Commissioner for Trademarks has carved a unique position for herself in American and international trademark law. Before being appointed as Commissioner, she served as the President of the International Trademark Association, an organization that spans 120 nations. In March 2003, Commissioner Chasser discussed the new proposed rules of the USPTO implementing the Madrid Protocol at the inaugural event of the Chicago Intellectual Property Alliance, which was hosted at Chicago-Kent.
Likewise, Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights for almost a decade, enjoys an unequaled reputation in the copyright policymaking arena. Register Peters presented News from the Copyright Office: A Dialogue with the Register of Copyrights at the law school in March 2001, at an event attended by a large number of students and practitioners. Ms. Peters was previously Policy Planning Advisor to the Register of Copyrights, and served as Acting General Counsel of the Copyright Office and as chief of both the Examining and the Information and Reference divisions.
Dolores K. Hanna - a graduate of the Chicago Kent College of Law - is an internationally renowned trademark attorney. She now practices with the Intellectual Property Department of Bell, Boyd and Lloyd LL.C., spearheading the
trademark practice. Ms. Hanna was Chair of the Trademark Law Revision Commission, which produced the report that led to the most significant revision of the Lanham Act to date (the Trademark Law Revision Act of 1988), and remains a leading light of the trademark bar. She is prominently involved in bar associations and industry organizations in Chicago and the state of Illinois. She is the first president, and was a leading force in the development, of the Chicago Intellectual Property Alliance.

The leading intellectual property bar associations in the United States have committees focusing on the role of Women in Intellectual Property Law. For information on the Women in Intellectual Property Law Committee of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, see The Intellectual Property Organization of Chicago (IPLAC) also has a Women in IP Committee. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) also has a page that provides information about intellectual property activities that may be of particular interest to women, see



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