Friday, April 9th
9:00 – 10:00 Opening Remarks, by Anjali Vats and Deidré Keller
10:15 – 12:15 Theorizing Race and Intellectual Property in Crisis
This overview panel explores questions of how intellectual property and race intersect during time of crisis. In times of peace and stability, intellectual property favors white people, even if not overtly. In times of conflict and instability, structurally marginalized peoples are often the first casualties of crisis. We see this in myriad ways, from the economic exploitation of people of color’s intellectual property to the intersectional racism and ableism of doctors. But the title of this panel also implicates intellectual property as being in a state of crisis. As its disciplinary functions are increasingly laid bare, it needs to be rethought and reimagined. This plenary session maps ways that crisis amplifies intellectual property’s racial disparities, from a number of axes. In addition to contemplating how our contemporary moment of crisis affects race and intellectual property, it also considers how past and future crises, from climate change to trade disruptions, prove challenging.
Featuring Bita Amani, Tonya Evans, and Chidi Oguamanam
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch, Together on Zoom
1:45 – 3:15 #TheTrademarksMustFall
This session looks at the intersections of race and trademarks over the last 10 years. The recent removal of Aunt Jemima and other racist images from well-known brands has reignited important conversations about why and how trademarks implicate race, especially with respect to ownership and profits for BIPOC individuals. In addition to these conversations, issues of trademark ownership have unfolded with respect to social movements. As individuals who have no connection to brands and social movements attempt to register trademarks, we are forced to ask how trademarks should evolve in this moment. This panel explores those questions, with a gesture to the theme of #MonumentsMustFall. Because trademarks often implicate our histories, this is a panel in which we have the opportunity to think about the histories of the law and its products in critical ways with respect to race.
Featuring Jasmine Abdel-khalik, Sonia Katyal, and Stephanie Mahin and Tori Eckstrand
3:30 – 5:30 Patents, Medical Racism, and Pandemics
This panel looks historically and contemporarily at the intersections of pandemics and race. Medicine and health care have, since the formation of the nation, operated as a racist endeavor. Medical racism gets amplified in moments of crisis, because of individual racism and structural marginalization. In the context of COVID-19, this crisis manifested as the colonial wielding of American whiteness against nations including China and India and the disproportionate impact of the illness on Black and Latinx populations. This panel explores questions of intellectual property and race across time, through the ongoing research of scholars who work in the areas of medicine, health, and science and technology studies.
Featuring Michael Sinha, Madhavi Sunder, and Anjali Vats and John Lynch
5:45 – 8:00 Wine Online, with Future Conference Planning
Saturday, April 10th
9:00 – 11:00 Imagining Antiracist IP: Finding Our Way Out of Crisis
What would an antiracist IP regime look like? What foundational precepts would animate it? How do we imagine an antiracist IP in the context of other racist systems? What theoretical frameworks can we engage in envisioning an antiracist IP regime? What are the minimum requirements of such a regime? What would a thriving antiracist IP regime look like?
Featuring Kali Murray, Janewa Osei-Tutu, and Richard Schur
11:15 – 1:15 Free speech at the Intersections of Race and Intellectual Property
The election of Donald Trump in 2016 ushered in a new era of white nationalism, often protected by what critical race scholars would argue is a profound misdeployment of the First Amendment. This panel considers how the intersections of race and intellectual property collide with pushes for free speech, whether over dilutive trademarks, remarks on social media, or protests in the streets. Free speech is a site on which intellectual property rights are negotiated. It is also increasingly an area of law that becomes politicized during periods of crisis, especially as intellectual property becomes more central to the US economy. We close with this discussion of free speech as we all contemplate how the Far Right has fundamentally altered the nature of intellectual property and free speech in America.
Featuring Margaret Chon and Robert Chang, Mohan Dutta, and Lateef Mtima
1:30 – 2:30 Lunch, Together on Zoom
2:30 – 4:30 Race and Copyright in Crisis
Copyrighted works, as well as trademarks, have recently come into the spotlight as sites of racial conflict. Most recently, cases around famous texts such as Gone with the Wind and “Blurred Lines” have demonstrated how copyright and race can intersect. This panel explores race and copyright as sites for the negotiation of racial conflict during moments of crisis. This panel explores how we might think about crises in copyright, as they implicate media and media platforms, as well as the very need to reimagine copyright law itself. Copyright Wars, in William Patry’s words, have been recurrent in history. Tracing past and current crises of copyright and race, this panel contemplates how we can continue to focus on dismantling whiteness in times of crisis.
Featuring Matthew Morrison, Kavita Philip, and Nora Slonimsky