International Conference on Innovation and Communications Law Xiamen University – China, 6-7 July 2015.

The International Conference on Innovation and Communications Law (CICL) is a joint venture involving the University of Turku (Finland), the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Louisville (USA), Michigan State University (USA), and Drake University (USA). This international alliance seeks to explore legal issues involving intellectual property law, communications law, and other issues related to these areas or the intersection of the two. This year the Intellectual Property Research Institute, Xiamen University hosted and organised on the 6-7 July 2015 the CICL. The conference counted with the attendance and participation of prominent international and local specialists whom discussed in eight intensive sessions the latest developments concerning innovation, intellectual property law, communications law and competition law.

International Conference on Innovation and Communications Law Xiamen University – China, 6-7 July 2015
Dr Dhanay María Cadillo Chandler and Professor Katja Lindroos

A welcoming dinner initiated the conference on the night of the 5th of July, where all of the foreign attendants had the opportunity to have a taste of both the local flavours and the hosts’ hospitality. The conference was officially opened by the authorities of the Faculty of Law – Xiamen University, the Intellectual Property Research Institute -Xiamen University, and the Shinhwa International Intellectual Property Service – Xiamen among them Prof. Dr. Xiuqin Lin, and Prof. Dr. Peter Yu. During the opening ceremony the authorities highlighted the importance of scholarly research, given that our main goal is to learn how to deal with innovation? And also to find the challenges within the existent laws that could potentially deter or prompt innovation. These powerful words set the tone for the conference that began discussing in its first session issues related to Communication Technology and Intellectual Property. Prof. Dr. Tana Pistorius (University of South Africa) chaired this panel, where the presenters included Prof. Dr. Spyros Maniatis (Queen Mary University of London), Prof. Dr. Wushuang Huang (East China University of Political Science and Law) and Prof. Dr. Nari Lee (Hanken School of Economics).

The following session introduced issues related to Domain Names, Big Data and Intellectual Property. Lars Smith (University of Louisville) chaired this second session where Susan Corbett (Victoria University of Wellington) brought to the spotlight the importance of protecting country codes Domain names as consumers might be misled into devious gambling sites that have nothing to do with the country these sites claim to be from. Dongmei Xiao (Xiangtan University) addressed the issue of big data and the objectification of assessment of inventive step of patents. Tana Pistorius (University of South Africa) shed light on the information divide and whether we all have access to quality of information within the context of her presentation on Copyright Protection and databases or the function of trademarks and adwords or the impact of new gTLDs. The context of all presentations was summarised and discussed by Llewellyn Gibbons (University of Toledo).

Within the framework of “New Innovation Model and Intellectual Property” the third session took place under the supervision of Spyros Maniatis (Queen Maty University). In this session Geertrui Van Overwalle (K.U.Leuven) discussed in the context of her presentation ‘Open innovation in agriculture and new modes of sharing IP’ how collaborative licensing models i.e. Syngenta –Licensing platform might present with an alternative to promote a cost effective solution for companies to innovate in the field of agriculture. Following the need to foster innovation, Yahong Li (University of Hong Kong) discusses copyrights and creativity challenges. Xiaoqing Feng (China University of Political Science and Law) brought to the spotlight how new technologies are challenging the current intellectual property framework, thus calling upon efficient law reforms. Guobin Cui (Tsinghua University) has the duty to put in context all four presentations.

The first day of conference closed with the fourth session addressing Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical Technology and intellectual property where Geertrui Van Overwalle was the chair. With a thought provocative presentation Martin Adelman (George Washington University) contested the existence of patent tickets on the one hand, and on the other addressed the current misconception in the U.S.A about second medical uses patents which raised the question on how to encourage innovation on known compounds when second use patents are not necessarily granted. Katja Lindroos (University of Eastern Finland) assessed the issue of intellectual property, biotechnology and food where the goal is to find where the IP system clashes with food safety laws arguing that innovation and market entry could be jeopardized by the clash of these two systems. Mei-Hsin Wang (National Yunlin University of Science and Technology) discussed how strategic management on green technology IP rights has fostered innovation and cost savings throughout the use of alliances. Said alliances seems to work for the green tech sector however its applicability have not been proven or put to test on other sectors. Lucas Osborn (Campbell University) explained how weaker patents might help fostering innovation and development in the sector of 3D printing. Arguing how technology helps lowering the price of innovation i.e. DNA sequencing has dramatically lowers its prices. However, the speaker recognised the need to test further the hypothesis given that other industries i.e. Pharma, is heavily dependant on patents. Dhanay Cadillo Chandler (Univeristy of Helsinki) had the duty to summarise and comment on these presentations.

On Tuesday 7th, the conference continued with four more sessions on pressing intellectual property and technology issues. The fifth session on 3D Printing and Intellectual Property was chaired by Peter Yu (Texas A&M University) began with Nari Lee’s (Hanken School of Economics) presentation about 3D Printing and IP and communication law where limitations and exceptions on the IP law in terms of copyrights were assessed. Among the issues discussed within the frame of this presentation was the fact that 3D printers per se are not as controversial as the objects printed since these could infringe i.e. trademarks. The session continued with Phoebe Li (University of Sussex) analysing the impact of 3D printing for the medical industry. This presentation pointed out the importance of 3D printing to reduce the cost of medical ‘treatment or solutions’ i.e. tissue or parts. Even when 3D printed prosthetic could alleviate a patient’s need it also raises the question of liability in case of malfunction or if damage occurs while using the aforementioned prosthetic. Nonetheless as an invention medical 3D printing seems to present an avenue for innovation. This panel was discussed and commented by Xiaoqing Feng (China University of Political Science and Law).

FRAND and intellectual property licensing was analysed within the context of the sixth session and chaired by Nari Lee (Hanken School of Economics), where John Crossed (University of Louisville) discussed the meaning of what is “fair” in FRAND licensing. Arguing that if the meaning of far is taken out of its literal context could become problematic. Even when monopoly laws bring limitations and licensing the effect on the market is a definitive indicator of such interpretation. Yang Li (Shenzhen University) brought to the spotlight the importance in differentiating a patent hold-up from a FRAND hold up within the context of his presentation on FRAND hold-up and its solutions. Xiuqin Lin (Xiamen University) raised the importance of standardisation within the frame of her presentation ‘Interpretation of FRAND: A Chinese perspective’. Kan He (Hanken School of Economics) presented the session’s summary addressed important questions to the speakers.

John Cross (University of Louisville) chaired the seventh session on ‘New perspectives on intellectual property’. In this panel consumer protection was at the centre of the discussion since Huijia Xie (South China University of Technology) highlighted its importance within the context of copyright law. Later on Huijuan Dong (Xiamen University) pointed out the value of regulating TPM for consumers. In the realm of consumer protection Ann Bartow (University of New Hampshire) depicted on how college mascots, which are their trademarks, are at the same time male dominated, thus, discriminating female athletes. The discussion showed that trademark law in the U.S.A sufficient to prevent gender discrimination. Sussan Corbett (Victoria University of Wellington) brought together the three presentations with interesting comments.

The last session of the conference ‘Cross-border Intellectual Property Protection and Government Regulation’ chaired by Katja Lindroos (University of Eastern Finland) encompassed a variety of issues not only related to IP but also technology. Liguo Zhang (University of Helsinki) addressed the Importance of the Qualcomm decision and its implications for the Chinese context, for instance the lack of definition of early abuse constitutes a dilemma since this might fall within the scope of anti-monopoly law. Alexandra George (University of South Wales) drew attention on the issue of new avenues fro cross border protection and enforcement of IP rights. With her presentation ‘Globalising jurisdiction:  new developments in cross-territorial protection of intellectual property’ portrayed the possibility to use extradition laws to enforce intellectual property protection could be a viable option given that litigating the same case in several jurisdictions is extremely costly. On a more technology minded presentation Lars Smith (University of Louisville) depicted on how U.S.A has began or aimed at regulating Bitcoin despite the fact that it is not really currency or a bank. The session closed with V.C. Vivekanandan (NALSAR University of Law) presentation on the ‘Battle of the Broadcasting Treaty’. For this panel Martin Adelman (George Washington University) presented comments and initiated the final discussion of the conference.

The closing ceremony was in the hands of Xiuqin Lin, Katja Lindroos, Peter Yo and John Cross whom warmly welcome the participants to next year’s conference in Finland.  The conference was co-organized by Drake University, Michigan State University, School of Law Xiamen University, Office of Social Science Xiamen University, Office of International Exchange and Cooperation, State Intellectual Property Training (Fujian) Base and also sponsored by Shinhwa International Intellectual Property Service.

Author: Dhanay María Cadillo Chandler, PhD