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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

The Herchel Smith Lecture 2021: Fairness as a legal concept – a guiding principle for IP?

When: Wednesday, May 5, 2021, 6:00 PM -
Where: Online

The lecture advances two observations. First, due in particular to leaps of technological innovation, the traditional scheme of regulating intellectual property in on the basis of distinct, phenomenologically defined modes of use no longer offers a feasible modus operandi.

It is posited that instead of clear-cut legal rules founded on traditional paradigms, the relationship between businesses competing on markets for exploitation of intellectual achievements is - and will be - increasingly regulated by overarching notions of "fairness" or "honest practices".

Second, both notions form part not only of international law, but also of the written acquis of EU legislation, making them liable to interpretation as autonomous and uniform legal terms. This triggers the question of whether it is possible to identify the core elements informing the application of those concepts, and to develop methods and criteria that help getting closer to a common understanding of an otherwise dangerously loose approach towards assessment of legal issues.

Annette Kur is a leading international figure in intellectual property. She was Head of Unit at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for competition and Innovation until her retirement in 2015, President of the International Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property (ATRIP) 2007-2009, lectures at the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC), and has been a distinguished visitor at institutions all around the world. She is the author of books and numerous articles in the field of national, European and international trade mark, unfair competition and industrial design law, as well as international jurisdiction and choice of law.

Herchel Smith

Dr Herchel Smith's endowments to Queen Mary University of London continue to fund the Herchel Smith Chair in Intellectual Property, a number of student scholarships and the annual Herchel Smith public lecture in intellectual property. Along with CIPA, Dr Herchel Smith was instrumental in the creation of the Intellectual Property Archive at Queen Mary.

Find out more about Dr Herchel Smith and the Herchel Smith Scholarship.

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