LSE Law Leverhulme Public Lectures: Professor Dan L. Burk

Dan L. Burk is Chancellorís Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine, where he is a founding member of the law faculty. An internationally prominent authority on issues related to high technology, he lectures, teaches, and writes in the areas of patent, copyright, electronic commerce, and biotechnology law. He is the author of numerous papers on the legal and societal impact of new technologies, including articles on Internet regulation, on the structure of the patent system, and on the economic analysis of intellectual property law.


The Gene Patent Controversy

Date: Friday 6 March 2015;  Time: 6.30-8pm; Venue: Alumni Theatre, New Academic Building
Chair: Dr Alain Pottage

Gene patents have been central to the development of the biotechnology industry, but a growing chorus of critics question whether genes should not be considered unpatentable products of nature. The recent gene patenting decision by the United States Supreme Court adopting this view has upset 30 years of patent practice in the US, and put US law out of step with the law of its trading partners. Adopting a comparative approach, Professor Burk will consider the ups and downs of approaches to gene patents in the U.S., the EU, Canada, and Australia.


The Software Patent Puzzle

Date: Tuesday 10 March 2015;  Time: 6.30-8pm;   Venue: 32 LIF LG.04, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields
Chair: Dr Siva Thambisetty

Computer software is now a ubiquitous technology, integrated into automobiles, thermostats, mobile phones, and myriad other everyday artefacts. The pervasive presence of software is due to its mercurial nature: it may be considered a machine, or a text, or a process all at the same time. But because it defies categorization, both US and EU courts have struggled to define the boundaries of software patenting. Meanwhile, courts in the UK have developed their own unique approach to this problem. In this lecture Professor Burk will explain and explore the software puzzle by examining the decisions of these different courts.


Patenting Information Technologies

Date: Friday 13 March 2015;  Time: 6.30-8pm;   Venue: Alumni Theatre, New Academic Building
Chair: Dr Orla Lynskey

Patenting Information Technologies The questions of gene patenting and software patenting are closely intertwined, and legal decisions regarding the one technology have consistently informed decisions regarding the other. This is because each constitutes a type of information technology, providing respectively process information to a machine or to a living cell. As information technologies proliferate, both the problems and the solutions seen in gene and software patenting will become more common. In this final lecture, Professor Burk will reprise and integrate themes from the first two lectures, highlighting the common characteristics of biotechnology and computer patents, and what they tell us about the future patents and innovation.