How the Unitary Patent will Fragment European Patent Law

2015, Past Issues, Print, Volume 47 (2015) Issue 1 (Spring)
David Medina Innovation in the European Union (“E.U.”) has been lagging behind innovation in the United States for many years. Many European business leaders have cited the cost of obtaining a patent, the complexity of navigating the patent process, and the lack of uniform patent enforcement as causes of the slow growth of European innovation. The European Patent Office (“EPO”)—the E.U.’s governing patent body—recently announced significant changes to make patenting in the E.U. less expensive and less complex. On December 17, 2012, twenty-five E.U. member states—which counts for most, but not all of the E.U. member states—banded together to enact two regulations for the purposes of creating a unitary patent and agreeing on the languages required to obtain a unitary patent. Approximately two months later, most of the same countries…
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The Government’s Right to Destroy

2015, Past Issues, Print, Volume 47 (2015) Issue 1 (Spring)
Kellen Zale Every year, in cities and towns across the country, tens of thousands of property owners attempt to destroy their homes, offices, or other buildings that they own. Whether to clear space for new construction or to rid themselves of unwanted maintenance and expense, property owners often seek to take the proverbial wrecking ball to their property. Yet despite Blackstone’s exhortation that a property owner has “sole and despotic dominion . . . over the external things of the world,” an owner seeking to demolish a building will face numerous legal obstacles. A wide range of common law and statutory rules—ranging from arson laws and the doctrine of waste, to historic preservation regulations and zoning ordinances, to private contractual agreements such as deed restrictions—operate to limit an owner’s right…
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Standing Our Legal Ground: Reclaiming the Duties Within Second Amendment Rights Cases

2015, Past Issues, Print, Volume 47 (2015) Issue 1 (Spring)
Christopher N.J. Roberts The Supreme Court is likely to hear another contentious Second Amendment gun case in the near future. This Article argues that focusing exclusively on rights—the dominant mode of legal analysis in such cases—is, ironically, not the appropriate foundational starting point. By pitting competing personal interests and incompatible rights claims against one another, this legal issue is likely to devolve into a dispute over politics and ideologies rather than law. If we are to prevent the next Second Amendment Supreme Court case from drifting away from its legal moorings into another ideological contest, this Article suggests that the appropriate starting point begins with recognition of one of the most basic, yet widely overlooked legal propositions: For every right there is a correlative duty. Interestingly, although every legal right…
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It’s About Time: Modernizing the Federal Employers’ Liability Act of 1908

2015, Past Issues, Print, Volume 47 (2015) Issue 1 (Spring)
Kyle Orne Under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (“FELA”), lawyers win and everyone else loses. Essentially, FELA fails on two accounts: time and money. FELA is the exclusive remedy for claims by railroad employees against employers for injuries suffered on the job; it supersedes all state laws. While one study showed that almost 99% of FELA cases are settled and 85% are settled without the help of an attorney, if not settled, FELA cases take an average of five-and-a-half years to be resolved. Moreover, when Congress reviewed FELA in 1988 for possible repeal, the administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration testified that almost a quarter of all employees who went to trial with claims of $500,000 or more actually received no compensation. Of those employees who did receive a judgment,…
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The Local Rules of Patent Procedure

2015, Past Issues, Print, Volume 47 (2015) Issue 1 (Spring)
Megan M. La Belle Congress, the Executive, and the Judiciary have all had “patent litigation abuse” on their minds recently. The concern is that too many frivolous patent suits are being filed and used to extract unwarranted settlements. The story is that bad actors—patent assertion entities (PAEs) or, more pejoratively, “patent trolls”—are suing small companies and end users for patent infringement even though PAEs make no patented products themselves. Over the past two years, Congress proposed nearly a dozen bills aimed at curbing patent litigation abuse, the Executive took various anti-troll measures, and the Supreme Court decided a pair of cases that make it easier to shift fees based on patent litigation misconduct. In the meantime, federal district courts have been addressing the patent litigation situation for years through procedural…
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Adventures in Risk: Predicting Violent and Sexual Recidivism in Sentencing Law

2015, Past Issues, Print, Volume 47 (2015) Issue 1 (Spring)
Melissa Hamilton A new arena inviting collaboration between the law and sciences has emerged in criminal justice. The nation’s economic struggles and its record-breaking rate of incarceration have encouraged policymakers to embrace a new penology which seeks to simultaneously curb prison populations, reduce recidivism, and improve public safety. The new penology draws upon the behavioral sciences for techniques to identify and classify individuals based on their potential future risk and for current best evidence to inform decisions on how to manage offender populations accordingly. Empirically driven practices have been utilized in many criminal justice contexts for years, yet have historically remained “a largely untapped resource” in sentencing decisions. One reason is that sentencing law in America has for some time been largely driven by retributive theories.The new penology clearly incorporates utilitarian goals and…
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Regulating Tobacco Through Litigation

2015, Past Issues, Print, Volume 47 (2015) Issue 1 (Spring)
Patrick Luff This article takes a new approach to evaluating regulation of tobacco in general and the regulatory impact of the tobacco litigation in particular. Rather than viewing the tobacco litigation in isolation, regulation-through-litigation as an institutional response should be compared with potential alternative institutional responses such as regulation via administrative agency or the operation of market forces. Because courts have been better at generating technocratic information and at the same time can avoid the barriers to regulation that other institutions face, courts have been and will continue to be the preferred institution for regulating the social-costs externalities of tobacco consumption. In combination with an appreciation of the main regulatory problems that tobacco presents, this conclusion suggests a reevaluation of regulatory devices such as taxation, administrative compensation systems, and liability…
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Chimeras, Hybrids, and Cybrids: How Essentialism Distorts the Law and Stymies Scientific Research

2015, Past Issues, Print, Volume 47 (2015) Issue 1 (Spring)
Kerry Lynn Macintosh Imagine a scientist friend invites you to visit her research laboratory. She directs you to a cage. You see a small, furry creature with round ears and a long tail crouched in one corner of the cage. Based on these visual cues you assume the creature is a mouse. You quickly draw some basic inferences: the mouse is fond of cheese, afraid of cats, and none too bright. Then your friend surprises you. She informs you that she engrafted the mouse with human brain stem cells; as a result, all the neurons in its tiny brain are of human origin. She made the mouse so she could study the function of human neurons in a living model. You ask whether the mouse thinks like a human. Your…
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