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Trademark Law Leaders Meet in New York for USF Symposium

February 23, 2012

Nearly 300 trademark attorneys, brand owners, law professors and others gathered in New York for the third annual symposium on trademark law sponsored by the USF School of Law McCarthy Institute for Intellectual Property and Technology Law and Microsoft Corp.

“This event brings together the various sectors of decision-makers in this field of law,” said Professor David Franklyn, director of the McCarthy Institute. “We have here corporations like Time Warner and Microsoft, people from the government, people from law firms, people from academia. The idea is to look at critical issues in trademark law in a creative and challenging way.”

Hosted this year by Time Warner Inc. at Time Warner Center, the event included a keynote by USF Senior Professor J. Thomas McCarthy, author of the definitive treatise in trademark law, McCarthy on Trademarks and Unfair Competition.

The day began with an address by Time Warner Inc. Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Bewkes who described Time Warner as both a content creation and technical innovation company.

“We make journalism and artistic expression. You know us that way, as an intellectual property company. We are also in our genes an innovation company, including a technical innovation company,” he said, citing examples of ways in which the company has innovated new content delivery methods. He pointed to Time Warner’s efforts to make all television content available on demand on the internet, its creation of CNN as the first 24-hour global news service, even its role in pioneering the zip code in order to deliver Time magazine.

“I want to encourage a great debate today. Nobody knows all the answers to this—as we saw with the vigorous debate over the last month about questions of copyright,” he said, referring to proposed federal legislation to strengthen the protections against copyright infringement.

Panel discussions focused on what challenges social networking presents to brand owners, iCANN’s generic top level domain (gTLD) program, the responsibilities of intermediaries and rights holders, and government efforts to protect intellectual property.

The closing keynote speaker was Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment, who presented “Building and Maintaining a Brand Franchise: The Magic Behind Harry Potter.”

Dean Jeffrey Brand said the symposium in many ways exemplifies the character of the law school.

“There is nothing that better reflects the mission of the USF School of Law than bringing together all of you to discuss the issues that are literally changing the face of humanity—bringing with it great promise and also problems that threaten our global governance and world economy,” he said.

For more information, go to www.usfca.edu/law/mccarthysymp.