WIPIP 2024 Highlights

Earlier this month, the High Tech Law Institute hosted the 2024 Works-in-Progress Intellectual Property (WIPIP), featuring nearly 90 presentations and over 110 attendees from four continents. The photo album.

Some of my highlights from the event:

Reconvening in physical space. The HTLI last hosted WIPIP in February 2020, about a month before the pandemic shutdown disrupted in-person gatherings. Since then, we’re relearning how to convene in-person. I think our community was excited by the throwback.

Celebrating Shabbat. Historically, WIPIP has been scheduled across Friday and Saturday–an unintended hurdle to participation by Shabbat-observing Jews. As a tiny recognition of this issue, we held an informal but moving Shabbat ceremony Friday night, complete with challah and Manischewitz.

Game of Drones. The HTLI loves organizing game night to build community and have some fun. This time, we retained an outside vendor to run “Game of Drones.” Players, working together on a team, navigated drones through a series of obstacles to achieve the fastest times.

The team names:

Team 1: Khal Drogo
Team 2: Khal Drone Go
Team 3: Dragons Are Prior Art for Drones
Team 4: Drone on Copyright (1879)
Team 5: Red Flag Knowledge Wedding
Team 6: A Team Has No Name
Team 7: House TradeStarks™
Team 8: droner-morghulis

Other team name ideas I liked: Aerial Stark, Dronecarys, and Vanna White-Walkers.

You will note that the first two teams came up with nearly identical names. Trademark issues crop up everywhere! We didn’t have an adjudicatory process to resolve their priority. Instead, the teams had to settle their dispute by (drone) combat.

We selected “A Team Has No Name” as the best team name. However, that team’s members disappeared over the course of the game, so it became “A Team Has No Team Members.”

Congratulations to Team 2 on navigating to a win. Dothras chek!

Game of Thrones Theme. Because the vendor called their game “Game of Drones,” we wove elements from Game of Thrones throughout the entire event.

The Costumes! It wouldn’t be a GoT theme without some cosplay. My colleague Brian Love donned a Jon Snow-inspired costume, and I took the Targaryen route with a blond wig and an inflatable dragon.

You know what pairs really well with the Game of Thrones? Banana costumes! (At HTLI, everything is better with banana costumes). We made available some banana costumes in case anyone was interested in taking photos with them. I now offer Goldman’s Third Law: if you leave out banana costumes in a photo area, nature will take its course. We even got Dean Kaufman into the costume!

Introducing Ed and Zahr to the community. As I previously mentioned, this year Santa Clara Law hired two terrific IP colleagues, Zahr Said and Ed Lee. We were honored to feature them to the WIPIP community as incoming SCU professors. We even got them into the banana costumes!

Recognition of Dan Burk. Prof. Dan Burk (UC Irvine Law) prominently participated in IP works-in-progress events for many years, including WIPIP. He planned to attend this year’s WIPIP, but his failing health made it impossible. As a result, we helped participants prepare written and video messages to Dan expressing their appreciation for him. We hoped these messages could be featured at the UC Irvine Law School event celebrating his life, which had been hastily scheduled for the next week (Feb. 9). Instead, tragically, Dan died a couple of days after WIPIP and before the Irvine event. This juxtaposition leaves me with a bittersweet memory of WIPIP 2024. We had so much fun together, but it also will be associated with Dan’s death and our community’s loss. My memoriam for Dan.

WIPIP 2025 will be hosted by the UNLV Law School in Las Vegas. 🎲🃏

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As usual, Prof. Rebecca Tushnet (Harvard Law) chronicled the sessions she attended: