Tsai Center Symposium will challenge the way you think

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Editor’s note, Oct. 15, 10:20 a.m.: This story has been updated throughout.

Attorneys and judges flooded through the doors of the Hillcrest room in SMU’s Underwood Law Library on Friday. With briefcases in one hand and complimentary breakfast in the other, they chatted while waiting for a panel discussion on patents.

The discussion was part of Dedman’s School of Law’s Tsai Center Inaugural Symposium.

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Storey Hall in the Law Quad Photo credit: Jessica Bryant

The line up of speakers and interesting panel topics are what brought the crowd of just under 100 legal professionals in. The new perspectives on the future of innovation are what caused guests to stay.

“I’m excited to hear everybody speak,” said Dallas attorney Kelly Chen. “Everybody on the panel is very distinguished and very well known in various fields.”

The panel discussions ranged from conversations about patents and patent law to problems, solutions, and moving forward in the future of innovation and intellectual property.

While discussions at the symposium shaped new viewpoints for many key legal players, the Tsai Center is shaping new possibilities for SMU as a whole. Dean Collins “hopes it becomes a hub of connection” and is excited for the center to partner with Cox, Lyle, and Meadows to think of new creative ways to foster innovation and entrepreneurship on campus.

After a welcome message from coordinator David Taylor and Dedman Dean Jennifer Collins, the first of these distinguished speakers, retired Chief Judge, Paul Michel, was on the stand.

“This assembly represents exactly what policy debates in our country should reveal,” said Chief Judge Michel. “And that is an enormously important valuable input that can be found from people of diverse disciplines and experiences.”

Chief Judge Michel discussed the importance of people in the field of law being active in the policies that are made.

“Every one of you is an expert in something relevant to policy innovation in this country,” said Chief Judge Michel.

One of the popular topics of policy innovation he discussed was a patent. Patents are defined as a “government authority or license conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.”

He said that the three main issues our country has with patents are: policymakers’ lack of knowledge about them, companies and businesses’ lack of money to enforce them, and the overall uncertainty patent laws hold.

This uncertainty is something that was also noted by Dallas attorney Mark Werbner, who represented U.S. victims of international terror attacks against the Arab Bank for almost a decade.

“I really didn’t like the uncertainty that existed,” said Werbner, speaking of what he learned when he first began working on patent cases. “I was astounded that things change that much.”

Panel discussions like these proceeded throughout the day, continuing to challenge the way people in the legal field view patents, policy innovation, and the future of intellectual property.

“It’s interesting, this intersection of law and technology to go beyond just the legal aspects,” said Dallas attorney Ken Moseley.

To learn more about the Tsai Center for Law, Science, and Innovation, visit them online.

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