Goldman's Observations 2015-03-28T00:48:43Z hourly 1 2000-01-01T12:00+00:00 Reflections on the Internet Law Work-in-Progress Conference Series 2015-03-12T16:21:13Z A student reporter for our law school newspaper emailed me some questions about our Internet Law Work-in-Progress Conference. Writing up my thoughts reminded me that we lack a good historical repository for the conference. In this post, I’ll share my interview answers here, but first I’ll start with a few words about the conference’s origin.

A Short History of the Conference

The conference traces its roots to the August 2010 Intellectual Property Scholars Conference (IPSC) at Berkeley Law. A lot of new IP academics got hired in the 2000s, and as a result, the number of attendees at IP-focused works-in-progress conferences exploded–especially when the conferences were held at destination venues like Northern California in August. Due to the overwhelming demand for presentation slots, the IPSC conference organizer decided to reject all of the Internet Law presentation requests.

This was an entirely rational decision on his part, and if I had been in his shoes, I may very well have made the same decision. Nevertheless, it was a wake-up call to the Internet Law scholarly community. We had been content to piggyback on the existing work-in-progress events catering to the IP community, even though the Internet Law papers didn’t always fit those conferences very well. But when one of those IP events shut its door to the Internet Law community, it became apparent that the Internet Law community lacked its own home.

Around that time, I was chatting with Dan Hunter, then-director of New York Law School’s Institute for Information Law and Policy, about ways that our centers might collaborate. Among other ideas, he casually suggested that we could do an Internet Law work-in-progress conference series together. Initially, I was skeptical because there were several well-established work-in-progress conference series catering to IP/tech academics (e.g., IPSC, WIPIP, TPRC and many others), and several new series had just launched. I worried that the market was saturated and no one would want yet another event, making our event look like a “me too” event. Still, Dan and I thought that Internet Law scholars really did need our own home, and together Dan and I could make it happen.

We initially hoped that we could get enough participants to fill a day with a single track of presentations. Response to the first event in March 2011 vastly exceeded our expectations. We had nearly 40 participants–so many that we needed two session tracks to fit everyone.

I want to mention two innovations we’ve tried with the series:

* we have experimented with giving more presentation time if the speaker delivers a draft paper that attendees can read before the conference. This tweak creates some scheduling challenges, and it can reward papers that are so close to done that feedback on the draft isn’t actually that useful. Still, I’ve been amazed at how the lure of a few extra minutes of presentation time motivates speakers to finish up a draft. Talk about Nudges!

* the conference has become legendary for its game night festivities. It all started with an off-hand remark that Andrea Matwyshyn made over lunch at a different conference (IPSC 2012 at Stanford) that, as a kid, no one had invited her to play Dungeons & Dragons. The light bulb went off: we could give her, and everyone else, the chance they never had! Both the 2013 and 2014 conferences had “professional” dungeonmasters take participants on quests. We’ve also done PowerPoint karaoke, another suggestion from Andrea. It works by finding quirky PowerPoint slide decks on the Internet and then making each speaker present one of these slide decks “blind” without ever having seen the deck or knowing what the next slides will say. This year, we tried some new things, including a game truck (discussed below) and some board games. It turns out that Cards Against Humanity was quite popular!

The Interview

Here’s the transcript of my email interview with a reporter for The Advocate, Santa Clara Law’s student newspaper:

Q: How many attendees (presenters and non-presenters) were present?

A: We had over 50 attendees from 17 states, Washington DC and 7 other countries on 5 continents. See the map.

Q: What is the purpose of the Internet Law Works-In-Progress conference?

A: The event has two main purposes. First, the event creates a space for scholars to get peer input on their draft papers that will help improve the final version. Second, the event builds and strengthens the community of Internet Law scholars.

Q: What was the highlight of the event?

A: I thought there were two highlights. First, I loved seeing relatively new members of the Internet Law community freely interacting with more established scholars. It’s a sign that the Internet Law scholarly community welcomes newcomers and doesn’t have the hierarchical stratification we normally associate with academic communities.

Second, the conference’s real highlight is game night. As the maxim might go, scholars who play together stay together. We take our game nights seriously, and we have a lot of fun with each other.

Q: How and why was the overall theme “Truckin’ Down the Information Superhighway” chosen?

A: We try to keep game night fresh. HTLI Assistant Director Joy Peacock proposed renting a game truck–basically, a walk-in truck trailer with lots of different video games. I had no idea that such things existed (let alone patented!) but I loved it. Once we decided to rent the game truck, we fully embraced a truck theme, in part to pay homage to Sen. Ted Stevens’ famous quote (“the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes”). Further riffing on the truck theme, we reserved SCU’s new food truck (the Pony Express) for dinner and gave SCU-branded toy trucks to attendees as conference schwag.

Q: How much time was taken to put the event together? Has planning for next year’s conference already begun?

A: We planned this event for a full year. Planning for next year’s event has already begun. It will be held March 5, 2016 at the New York Law School in Manhattan.

Q: Why was a Star Wars theme chosen for the menu?

A: We tried to come up a truck-themed dinner but nothing made sense. As an alternative, we tried to think of something that our audience would enjoy, and many Internet Law folks like Star Wars (after all, who doesn’t?!). So even though it had nothing else to do with the trucking theme, Star Wars themes are a natural for this community.

[UPDATE: You can find the student newspaper’s article here.]

Links To Past Conferences

* event page
* schedule
* attendees

* event page
* schedule and presenters

* event page
* schedule
* attendees
* photo gallery

2014 [hashtag #4ILSWIP]
* event page
* schedule
* attendees
* group photos 1 and 2

2015 [hashtag #SCUHTLI]
* event page
* schedule
* attendees
* photo gallery

Slinky Interview for Hsu Untied 2015-03-10T19:31:04Z artworks-000082300251-t45rkg-t200x200Last summer, I interviewed with Richard Hsu, a partner at Shearman & Sterling, as part of his series of interviews about lawyers with unusual hobbies. Naturally, we discussed my love for slinkies. Listen to the interview.

The Recorder recently interviewed Richard about his series, and the slinky interview came up:

Silicon Valley lawyers don’t seem like people who have a lot of leisure time. How do people find it? I’m surprised myself at how much they find it. But you know, a lot of lawyers are very passionate about these hobbies. That’s one of the things I enjoy about it most. You commented about Eric Goldman’s Slinky hobby. Originally I thought, “That just doesn’t seem like much of a hobby.” But it was one of the best interviews I’ve done. Eric Goldman tweeted out himself, “Of the hundreds of interviews I’ve done, this may be the most fun.” I tapped into something he really loves.

So true

Some Good News: I’ll Be On Sabbatical In 2015-16 2015-01-27T17:47:00Z I’ll be on sabbatical for the entire academic year 2015-16. I’m excited because it comes at a crucial time for me both personally and professionally. I’ll teach my last class at the end of April and then teach again starting August 2016.

I plan to be in my office most days during my sabbatical. It’s too hard to work at home! While I’ll be on campus pretty much as usual, I will be making some changes to my normal schedule:

* I won’t teach. This will be the first time in 20 years that I’ll not be teaching Internet Law! However, I intend to update my Internet Law reader in Summer 2015.

* I will be taking a hiatus from all of my university committee/service work. I’ve already handed off my role as Building Committee chair. I will be stepping out of my role of Co-Director of the High Tech Law Institute; I expect Brian Love will continue as director during my sabbatical. I haven’t discussed with the deans if I’ll resume the HTLI co-director role in 2016. During my sabbatical, I will also be handing off my supervision of the Privacy Law Certificate to a person TBD.

* I will be accepting speaking engagements even more selectively. I have a few trips planned before June 30. After that, I’ll probably take only 2-3 business trips over the subsequent 12 months. If you’d like to pitch me on a speaking gig or conference, by all means, please ask me! But please don’t be upset if I say no.

* I don’t expect my blogging to change. As I’ve been doing for the past year, I anticipate about 2 posts/month at Forbes, 4-6 posts/month at the Technology & Marketing Law Blog and once every couple of months here.

* I’ll also continue with my already-reduced slate of external boards, such as the Public Participation Project. However, I don’t anticipate taking on any new ones during the year.

So what will I do with my newly freed time? Obviously, my top priority is to be with my wife and family. Being a lung cancer caretaker has a fair amount of duties and time commitments, not all of which I anticipated. The sabbatical will make my schedule more flexible, so I can leave work early or take personal trips without any professional conflicts.

Professionally, here are some of the things I hope to complete by the end of my sabbatical:

* my main new sabbatical project will be on copyright law as a privacy-protection law (I plan to explain why that’s a bad idea). This is an extension of the Garcia v. Google brief I wrote with Venkat, as well as a continuation of the work I did with Jason Schultz on I had hoped to present this project at WIPIP but a conflicting caretaker duty arose and I had to drop off the speaker roster. I still plan to present it at the Internet Law WIP at SCU in March.

* my long-standing vaporware paper on Section 230 and consumer reviews. This is the paper I presented at the Section 230 15 year anniversary conference…in, uh, 2011.

* two complementary short papers on keyword advertising. The first, a paper on competitive keyword advertising by lawyers, is nearly done, and I’ll be circulating it in February. The second, which I hope to finish this semester, will declare the end of keyword advertising legal battles.

* a short paper on self-publishing an electronic casebook, which I’m co-authoring with Rebecca Tushnet. We have already submitted our draft to the journal.

* a short paper on online price discrimination. This is based on a presentation I made back in 2013. I plan to present this paper at the Privacy Law Scholars Conference at Berkeley in June.

* a short paper on online contracts, following up on my AALS presentation earlier this month.

* update my Internet Law reader in Summer 2015 and 2016.

* update the Advertising & Marketing Law casebook with Rebecca, probably in Summer 2016. I also will be trying to expand the associated teacher’s manual and supplemental website.

Some of the other projects on the maybe-I’ll-get-to-them list:

* my long-standing vaporware paper on ODR for consumer review websites.

* my long-standing vaporware paper on the Duty to Police in Trademark Law with Deborah Gerhardt and Leah Chan Grinvald.

* a possible short piece on copyright and ratings.

As you can see, I expect a busy sabbatical!

How My Wife’s Lung Cancer Impacted My Career (LinkedIn Influencer Cross-Post) 2015-01-22T15:15:13Z My wife was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in January 2014. Obviously, this has been a devastating development for her, but it’s had pretty significant implications for me too. In this post, I’ll explain what my wife’s lung cancer has done to my career.

I’m a tenured law professor. There are many ways for academics to measure their activities, none of them ideal. Two metrics I’ve meticulously tracked are press quotes and public talks given. (Collecting this information helps when I explain my year’s accomplishments to my dean). I’ll show you how those stats have changed since my wife’s diagnosis.

Press Quotes

Here are the number of press quotes I’ve made over the last dozen years:

As you can see, I was consistently giving well over 200 interviews since 2010, but I slid to 150 in 2014. Another way of reading the data is that lung cancer set my media visibility back 6 years.

I can think of at least two explanations for this drop. First, I turned down more media calls than I used to (or didn’t respond quickly enough) because I was too busy with caretaker duties. Second, because I did fewer external-facing activities (as discussed below), reporters were less exposed to my work and therefore didn’t think to call me as often.

Public Talks

The drop in my public talks is even more dramatic:

I had been giving over 30 talks a year for the past few years. In 2014, I gave 9. Stated another way, lung cancer dialed back my speaking activity a dozen years.

The explanation for this is quite clear. I withdrew from numerous speaking commitments immediately upon my wife’s diagnosis and turned down all new talk requests in 2014 that required travel. [A related indicator of how much I reduced my travel: I flew 75,000 miles on United Airlines in 2013 and earned Platinum status; in 2014, I flew 15,000 miles and earned no status]. My public talks also dried up because many of my professional colleagues knew about my wife’s lung cancer (I blogged about it widely). Trying to respect my time, they simply didn’t ask me to speak even if they would have wanted me to come.

Other Impacts

I significantly scaled back my administrative duties as Director of the High Tech Law Institute. I also ended my involvement in most committees and advisory boards and have added virtually no new ones since my wife’s diagnosis. As a result, many lines in my CV end with “-2014.”

I also reduced my blogging. I don’t have precise counts of how many blog posts I do per year, but I produced fewer blog posts in 2014 than 2013. The drop is especially notable at my Forbes blog, where I had contracted to make 5 posts per month. After my wife’s diagnosis, we mutually agreed to remove that minimum, and the 2014 number dropped to about 2 per month.

Producing scholarly works is another key output for academics. 2014 was a train wreck for my scholarly writing. However, as I cleaned up all of my other obligations, it’s actually created more time for my scholarly work. I anticipate I’ll complete several publications in 2015, a rate well above my output for the past several years.


I hope I don’t sound like I’m complaining. In some cases, I probably needed to prune and reshuffle my professional commitments irrespective of my wife’s health. Plus, I intentionally prioritized my domestic obligations over my work obligations for very good reasons. And as unfortunate as my situation is, it’s nothing compared to my wife’s situation.

Still, I previously talked about how a lung cancer diagnosis ripples widely through a community, and this post provides more supporting evidence. Even though I’m in good health, lung cancer has hit my career hard. This is why I think lung cancer research is so crucial. It’s not just about helping people with lung cancer, it’s about preventing lung cancer from ripping open big holes in our society.

What Would You Do If Your Spouse Has Cancer? (LinkedIn Influencer Cross-Post) 2014-11-19T16:56:57Z 14746704685_e9ea23ffac_zEarlier this year, my never-smoking 41-year-old wife was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. As you can imagine, this diagnosis turned our world upside down. Here are five key steps I took shortly after my wife’s diagnosis:

1) Put the Kids First. Previously, my wife and I had a stereotypical division of labor: I was the revenue generator, she was the childcare provider. With my wife’s diagnosis, she could no longer provide day-to-day childcare, so I immediately took over all of the day-to-day childcare, from making lunches to picking the kids up after school. I wanted to preserve a sense of normalcy in my kids’ lives in light of the huge emotional impact they’ve felt.

A few weeks later, after feeling overwhelmed trying to manage four people’s lives, I put in place a new allowance program that codified many of the kids’ daily responsibilities (from feeding the cat to putting on sunscreen) and rewarded them for handling those tasks themselves. This has had the side benefit of helping the kids improve their independence.

2) Declutttered the Kids’ Schedules. The kids had at least one out-of-school commitment each day of the week. Each commitment made sense individually, but collectively these commitments meant the kids had little free time. I dropped a number of the kids’ commitments principally to simplify my own transportation/childcare logistics, but the change also made the kids’ daily schedule is a little less frenetic and stressful.

3) Decluttered My Schedule. I love my job, and I constantly overbooked my life with professional commitments–not because I had to, but because I enjoyed doing so. Without my wife handling childcare, many of my discretionary professional undertakings became unaffordable luxuries. In the first few days following my wife’s diagnosis, I canceled almost all of my travel, dropped off several advisory boards, reduced or eliminated some of my administrative obligations, and ramped down my blogging. I am effectively doing a mid-career reprioritization. What are the key professional deliverables I must achieve, and how will I find the time to deliver them? For me, it all starts with saying “no” more often to discretionary professional tasks, and my family’s needs provide ample motivation to say no more often.

4) Accepted the Kindness of Others. My wife chose to publicly share her diagnosis. As a result, we’ve been overwhelmed with kind offers to help us. I’ve always had difficulty accepting offers of help, so my initial reaction was to resist them. The truth is that we actually needed the help, and I’ve overcome my initial resistance and gratefully accepted some of these offers. I’ve been blown away by how our communities have rallied to assist us, even though we haven’t always been equal participants in those communities. This experience has taught me a lot about ways we can help out others in their times of need.

5) Organized Our Legal Affairs. My wife and I were both lawyers, yet we had never done any basic estate or healthcare planning. As relatively young adults in good physical health, organizing our legal affairs has always felt like something we could deal with later. Now, with the prospects of major structural changes to our lives staring us in the face, this required immediate attention.

It took a family emergency for me to take these steps, but looking back at the chaotic state of our lives, I probably needed to take many of these steps anyway. Perhaps this post will give you some impetus to review your own situation and consider if you should revamp your priorities–without waiting for a family crisis to force those choices.

Related Posts:

* Lung Cancer Isn’t Just Life-Changing. It’s Community-Changing

* Five Things I’ve Learned About Lung Cancer

* My Wife Has Lung Cancer. Read Her Story

Have You Ever Seen A Ballot For The U.S. News IP Specialty Ranking? Here It Is… 2014-10-24T16:57:25Z us news ip ballotThe U.S. News rankings of law schools casts a long shadow on the legal education industry. Although the “general” rankings get most of the attention, U.S. News also publishes rankings of various specializations–including a ranking of “intellectual property” programs. Anecdotally, over the years a number of Santa Clara Law high tech students have told me that the specialty rankings influenced their decision to come to SCU.

Unfortunately, the specialty rankings are even less credible than the general rankings. The general rankings are generated using a complex and ever-changing multi-factor formula, which creates a veneer of scientific precision even though the data inputs are often garbage and the assumptions underlying the various factors are mostly stupid. Yet, as bad as that is, it’s a model of rigor compared to the specialty rankings.

Let’s take a closer look at the “formula” used for the IP specialty rankings. IP specialty ranking voters are asked to do the following:

Identify up to fifteen (15) schools that have the highest-quality intellectual property courses or programs. In making your choices consider all elements that contribute to a program’s academic excellence, for example, the depth and breadth of the program, faculty research and publication record, etc.

See the full ballot.

This instruction is followed by 3 pages listing approximately 200 law schools, organized by state and then alphabetically. I also found Step 5 intriguing: “Keep a copy of your completed survey for your own records”…because…? Can a voter demand a recount later?

There are numerous problems with this survey. Let me highlight two:

* There is a semantic ambiguity about what constitutes an “IP” program and how it relates to “technology” law. Several of the top ranked programs in the IP specialty ranking don’t refer to IP in their program name, such as Stanford’s “Program in Law, Science & Technology,” Berkeley’s “Center for Law & Technology” and Santa Clara’s “High Tech Law Institute.” I believe most voters interpret “IP” to include technology law, even though the ballot’s instructions don’t suggest that.

* how should voters define “quality”? The instructions confusingly say voters can consider “courses” or “programs,” even though those considerations might point in different directions. For example, a school might have excellent faculty members but an average curriculum; or a school could have an awesome roster of courses all staffed by adjuncts. The additional “clarifying” language says voters can consider the “depth and breadth of the program” and faculty research/publications, but those are just more factors that also could point in different directions. So what criteria are voters using, exactly?

Of course, I recognize a tendentious parsing of the ballot’s instructions is meaningless. First, I assume every voter relies on his or her own intuitive sense of what makes for a “good” program, without any consideration of the ballot instructions. Second, and more structurally, voters simply cannot have well-informed views about all 200ish schools. This is a common critique of the general U.S. News ballots, but the critique applies with equal force to the specialty programs.

Because most voters won’t have well-informed views about most programs, the ballot probably devolves into a survey of name recognition and very general impressions–in other words, a popularity contest. I’m amazed when anyone pays close attention to small movements in such an imprecise measure, but perhaps seeing the ballot in all its glory might help discourage such overreliance in the future.

One final point: a few years ago, I was told that U.S. News sent out about 120 ballots for the IP specialty ranking (selected from the ~700 members of the AALS IP Section, even though many section members are only peripherally interested in IP) and had about a 50% return rate. If that’s true, the ranking is based on a total of about 60 votes–in other words, a small dataset that is probably inadequate to produce statistical reliability, and where just a few votes here or there probably can move a school several places up or down in the rankings.

Lung Cancer Isn’t Just Life-Changing. It’s Community-Changing (LinkedIn Influencer Cross-Post) 2014-07-23T16:27:52Z Being diagnosed with cancer terrifies all of us. In the best case, a cancer diagnosis involves painful or sickening treatments. In the worst case, a cancer diagnosis is an imminent death sentence. Either way, a cancer diagnosis instantly changes the victim’s life.

That’s usually true for family members residing with a cancer victim as well. Inevitably, they take on additional caregiver duties; and they too suffer the emotional toll associated with watching someone they love fighting for their lives. One person has cancer, but the whole family bears cancer’s burden.

When the doctor said my wife had lung cancer, I knew her life, and my life, and the lives of our young kids, would never be the same. What I didn’t appreciate was how other people’s lives were about to change as well.

Financial Implications

Cancer is an expensive disease. Treatments can cost millions; so much that cancer patients can run into health insurance policies’ lifetime maximum cap. Overall, Americans spend over $100 billion a year treating cancer. But cancer’s financial costs go well beyond healthcare costs.

In response to my wife’s diagnosis, my mom is moving from her Sacramento suburb (2.5 hours from us) into our Bay Area peninsula neighborhood. This might sound like the kind of sacrifice we expect moms to make for their children, but this move was hardly routine. It requires relocating my stepfather from his assisted living home, relocating her publishing business, and closing four real estate transactions (selling 2 residential properties and her office building plus buying a new residence). All told, my mom’s move implicates hundreds of thousands of dollars of healthcare expenses for my stepfather, a loss of jobs and revenue from her current community, and millions of dollars of real estate transactions. Who would have thought my wife’s lungs had such financial implications?

With such enormous economic stakes associated with a single cancer diagnosis, we must continue to invest in research for better detection tools and treatment options. Cancer isn’t just a plague on our family; it’s a drain on our society and our economy.

Implications for My Colleague

Previously, I could work hard building my career because my stay-at-home wife took primary responsibility for raising our children and running our household. Not surprisingly, my professional commitments became untenable when my wife no longer could handle those responsibilities.

I direct my law school’s High Tech Law Institute (HTLI), a key academic program at the law school. The directorship is a demanding job, consuming a lot of my time (including weekends and evenings) and attention. In light of my new caregiver responsibilities for my wife plus taking over her childcare and household responsibilities, I no longer could devote the necessary attention to the job.

Finding a successor isn’t easy. Most professors hate administrative duties, and not every professor has the skillset or personality to succeed in the job.

Co-ConspiratorsFortunately, my colleague Brian Love, a patent scholar we hired in 2012, has the skills and personality to handle the job and didn’t categorically reject the idea of taking on additional administrative duties.

Unfortunately, Brian is untenured, and the director’s role can make it harder to get tenure. First, the administrative duties can be a major distraction from the other tasks required to get tenure. At minimum, Brian will have to work hard to satisfy the director’s duties and complete the tenure requirements. Second, an administrative director often makes unpopular and occasionally risky decisions—all of which could be cited against the tenure candidate come tenure-time. Brian, despite all of these downsides, graciously agreed to co-direct the HTLI with me nonetheless.

Thus, my wife’s lung cancer required me to change my professional duties, which led to my colleague making a risky and time-consuming professional move. Furthermore, when Brian attends evening and weekend events that require the director’s attendance, his wife likely will bear more childcare responsibilities for their young child.

In other words, my wife’s lungs directly affects the life of my colleague’s spouse, four social network “hops” away from her.

Cancer Destroys Communities, But It Also Builds Them

Hundreds of people have been affected, directly or indirectly, by my wife’s diagnosis. But amidst of all of this disruption, we have seen amazing generosity from expected and unexpected sources. For example, we joined a synagogue a couple months before the diagnosis, and we had just started meeting other members. When members learned about my wife’s cancer, we were inundated with offers of support: dinners, playdates, childcare, rides and so much more. It was incredible to feel so much love from a group of people we hardly knew. It’s shown us what it really means for a community to care about its members. It took a tragedy to learn that lesson, but it would have been a tragedy if we’d never learned it.

Join Team Lisa at “Your Next Step is the Cure” 5K, San Francisco, Sept. 21 2014-07-17T16:51:07Z You recall that my wife Lisa has lung cancer. There is a seemingly endless supply of athletic fundraisers for cancer generally and lung cancer specifically, and we appreciate how family and friends have organized “Team Lisa” tributes at several of these events.

1064777_7313115536921The 6th Annual Your Next Step is the Cure San Francisco, CA 5K, by the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, is another fundraiser in the genre, but with a big difference. For the first time, Lisa is organizing her own Team Lisa, and we anticipate the entire Goldman family (Lisa, me and the kids) will be there to participate. We have benefited substantially from the help of the Addario Foundation, and we are happy to support their work.

The event is September 21, 2014, at Lake Merced in San Francisco. They will have both a run and a walk. The Goldman family will be doing the walk. If you are able to join Team Lisa, pre-registration is $30. If you can’t join us in person but still want to donate, there is a donations page.

I’m excited about enjoying another beautiful day in California as our family and friends walk together to support Lisa. We hope to see you on September 21!

Reflecting On 8 Years As HTLI Director 2014-06-02T18:53:01Z Co-ConspiratorsWe recently announced that Brian Love is joining me as co-director of the High Tech Law Institute. This is a good news/bad news announcement. Brian is a terrific talent, and I’m thrilled to work with him. However, given that he’s still pre-tenure, Brian’s new role is a bit early. The timing is driven by my wife’s lung cancer, which has limited my ability to handle the director job. Brian is stepping up at our time of need, but I think this move would have made more sense a few years from now, not today.

Although I plan to remain integrally involved with the High Tech Law Institute as a co-director, this transition has prompted me to reflect on my activities as a director since I took the role in July 2006. Here are some of my highlights from the past 8 years:

New Institutions

Some of the programs we’ve added:

* Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic. This clinic filled an obvious and long-standing gap in our high tech curricular offerings. It’s also been a foundational piece of efforts to tie together the cross-university programs for entrepreneurs.

* Internet Law Work-in-Progress Conference. There are many work-in-progress events, but it turns out that Internet law scholars really wanted and needed a venue to connect with each other.

* Privacy Law Certificate. Privacy law is a growth industry, and Santa Clara Law plans to stock the privacy community with well-qualified candidates. This certificate is substantially more rigorous than typical law school certificates, and I believe its competency-based approach and rigorous requirements represents the wave of the future for law school certificates.

* High Tech Graduation Brunch. One last chance for high tech students to bond with each other before they leave the nest.

* HTLI Endowment. This is an internal matter but one of my most important accomplishments. Since I arrived, I have been focused on creating a substantial endowment to fund the HTLI’s operations–a lengthy process that is finally wrapping up successfully. Even in the law school market downturn, this endowed money should allow us to maintain our services.

Other Accomplishments

* Curricular reform/certificate revisions. In 2010, we made two major changes to the high tech curriculum. First, the IP Survey course became the gateway course to the high tech curriculum, rather than having students start with the standalone doctrinal courses. Second, we updated the requirements to obtain the high tech law certificate for the modern era. Both changes have been quite successful. A majority of Santa Clara Law students now take the IP Survey course, and the number of certificate earners more than doubled after the change.

* The team. I can’t claim a lot of credit for hiring either Colleen Chien or Brian Love, but both have been major additions to our program. I did chair the search committee that hired Laura Norris, and she has delivered everything we’d hoped for and more. The HTLI has two of the best professionals in the business in Joy Peacock and Dorice Kunis, and I’m proud to work with both.

* New degree programs. We added a JD/MSIS, one of the few such offerings in the nation, and we recently established a joint JD/IP LLM that ambitious students can complete in 3 calendar years.

Noteworthy Events

I didn’t fully appreciate how much the director job would involve event planning. We organize or co-sponsor between a dozen and 20 events per year, so the cumulative tally over the past 8 years is “too many events to count.” Some event highlights:

* Bay Area Blawgers. Back before blogging became corporatized, we organized a series of successful face-to-face get-togethers for the early legal bloggers in the Bay Area.

* State of the Net West. Working with Tim Lordan and the advisory committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus, we had a string of events where members of Congress and other DC insiders engaged a Silicon Valley audience. Series speakers included Reps. Blackburn, Boucher, Chaffetz, Eshoo, Goodlatte, Honda and Lofgren; White House CTO Aneesh Chopra; and FTC Commissioner Julie Brill.

* IT, Ethics and Law series. This series predates me, but I love how it’s been a cross-disciplinary dialogue at the intersection of IT, ethics and law. Speakers over the years have included Julie Brill, Alex Macgillivray, Eben Moglen, Craig Newmark, Paul Ohm, Erika Rottenberg and Jonathan Zittrain.

* Federal Circuit hearing. In 2008, we had a 3 judge panel of the Federal Circuit hear oral arguments in 3 cases on campus.

* Passionate Patents. We had a performance of an opera about patent prosecution. Yes, really.

* Academic conferences.

Trademark Dilution Symposium. When 100 people showed up for a specialized topic like this, I began to appreciate how our audience liked geeky topics. Symposium issue.
Carterphone and Open Access in the Digital Era. Celebrating the 40 year anniversary of the Carterphone decision was a terrific and timely conference concept (unfortunately, this one didn’t gel as well as I’d hoped).
100 Year anniversary of 1909 Copyright Act. Our most popular conference to date (over 250 RSVPs) on one of our most highly specialized topics (a law that had been dying for 35 years). Because we had more RSVPs than seats, we literally had people calling in favors trying to get in the door. Symposium issue (such as that it was).
Exhaustion and First Sale in IP. Great topic, but we were slightly ahead of the curve with it. Symposium issue.
– Closed-door patent scholars workshop. Check out the roster of presenters: T.J. Chiang, Colleen Chien, Dennis Crouch, Kevin Collins, Jeanne Fromer, Peter Lee, Michael Risch and David Schwartz; with commentary from John Duffy, Jeff Lefstin, Ted Sichelman, Chester Chuang and others.
15 year anniversary of 47 USC 230. Perhaps my favorite event of this group. The energy at this conference was incredible. I still hear people talking about this one.
Patent Defense 2.0. When it comes to patent litigation, Silicon Valley is primarily a defense-oriented community, and it was fascinating to watch that community come together at this event.
Solutions to the Software Patent Problem. This conference was unusual because we didn’t try to balance the panels. Instead, we started with the premise that software patents were a problem and then asked two dozen bright thinkers how they’d fix the problem. We complemented this conference with a robust online symposium describing many of the solutions for a lay audience. The news that Michelle Lee was hired as head of the USPTO Silicon Valley office broke at this conference.
15 year anniversary of DMCA. This was a great venue for the Silicon Valley Internet community to celebrate and commiserate about a law we love to hate.
WIPIP. This conference came at an exceptionally difficult time for me as we got my wife’s diagnosis just a month before the conference. Still, the event was filled with high points from beginning to end, starting with the pre-conference venture capital pitch event and continuing through the closing karaoke night where several dozen IP professors joined in a group singalong of Aqua’s Barbie Girl.

Hallmark features of our events

We take our events seriously, and over the years we’ve developed a few signature traits:

HTLI Slinky- Schwag. We love schwag! For us, good conference schwag meets strict design parameters: (1) not too heavy, (2) easy to stuff into carry-on luggage, (3) not breakable, (4) something a person would actually want to keep/use, (5) not too expensive (don’t want to violate government ethics rules), and (6) a little nerdy so as to reinforce our brand message. Mugs? No. Bags? No. Instead, over the years, our stalwart piece-o-schwag has been the highly coveted HTLI slinky. Making the HTLI slinky happen has been one of my best perks of being HTLI director. Other highlights include the SCU straws and the M&Ms with the faces of famous IP personalities.

– Party night. After we’re done with our official business, we love partying with IP academics! Highlights include WIPIP’s IP trivia contest and the legendary night of Dungeons & Dragons quests at the Internet Law WIP.

– Group photos. We always try to take group photos at work-in-progress events (examples: 1, 2). Talk about herding cats!

– Vegetarian/vegan food. Vegetarians and vegans never go hungry at our events.

– Speaker time limits. Our trains run ON TIME.

Media coverage of our program

Two of my favorite articles about the HTLI from the past 8 years:

* Santa Clara Law Magazine Fall 2009 issue (best viewed in Firefox)

* 2013 Recorder article

Five Things I’ve Learned About Lung Cancer (LinkedIn Cross-Post) 2014-05-10T00:23:06Z [This is a cross-post of my first post as a LinkedIn “Influencer.” If you dare, you can read the 140+ comments there, but they are about what you’d expect.]

In January, my wife was diagnosed with lung cancer. This was as shocking as it sounds. My wife is a 41 year old never-smoker vegetarian fitness instructor in otherwise excellent health. How could someone like her could get lung cancer?

Like most people, I didn’t know much about lung cancer before it hit home. Here are some of the key points I’ve since learned about lung cancer:

1) Non-smokers get lung cancer. Lots of them. You’ve seen the ads linking smoking and lung cancer. Like you, I assumed that meant only smokers got lung cancer. Instead, lots of non- and never-smoking Americans get lung cancer every year. Over 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer every year, and about 20% of those never smoked. That means tens of thousands of American never-smokers get lung cancer every year.

2) Young women get lung cancer. Too many of them. My wife’s demographics are not unique among lung cancer patients. For unexplained reasons, lung cancer is striking younger women at increasing rates. Lung cancer among younger women is one of the most disturbing epidemics you haven’t heard of. It’s silently depleting a generation of women at their peaks.

3) Everyone wants a explanation. When I tell people that my wife has lung cancer, people often ask questions seeking some explanation for how it happened. Was it second-hand smoke? Radon? Genetics? Surely there must be a logical reason why my wife got such an unexpected disease. Unfortunately, we have no explanation except that sometimes bad things happen to good people.

4) Survival rates are abysmal. Lung cancer is an efficient killer. It’s the #1 most lethal cancer by far.

[Percent of deaths due to specific types of cancer, based on 2012 data for all Americans. Source: International Agency for Research on Cancer].

Five-year survival rates for all lung cancer patients are around 16%. (Contrast breast cancer’s 90% survival rate). For patients with advanced lung cancer, five-year survival rates are de minimis.

Why is lung cancer so lethal? First, lung cancer is often detected late. The most common symptom, a persistent cough, is easily overlooked or misdiagnosed. Second, lung cancer metastasizes easily, so it often turns into an even-harder-to-treat cancer like brain cancer. Third, advanced lung cancer is difficult or impossible to eradicate. Even if a patient with advanced lung cancer gets back a clean CT or PET scan, the lungs likely still contain cancer fragments too small to see. Fourth, lung cancer mutates a lot. The mutations mean a treatment will lose its effectiveness (often within a year or less), and the patient must then try a different treatment. At some point, there are no other treatment options to try.

5) Cancer management isn’t a “cure.” Various chemotherapies and targeted gene therapies can create windows of time where a lung cancer patient can live something resembling a normal life. To outsiders, this may look like the patient is “cured.” Instead, it’s just that the current drug treatment has brought a temporary normalcy–a calm period that will be eventually trumped by unpreventable mutations or metastizations.

BONUS: One more thing I’ve learned: The world is filled with incredibly kind people. Since we’ve announced my wife’s diagnosis, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of others. Each day brings a new example of people going out of their way to support us. Gossip and the media often draw our attention to our society’s incivility, but unfortunately we let that overshadow the many acts of kindness by the true heroes who quietly make the world a better place.

My wife is blogging about her experiences with lung cancer. Check out “Every Breath I Take.”