Archives For George Mason University Law School

Over the past year, the Global Antitrust Institute (GAI) at George Mason University School of Law has released some of the most thoughtful critiques of foreign governments’ proposed new guidance documents on competition law.  The GAI’s March 31 comments (see here) in response to the India Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion’s Discussion Paper on Standard Essential Patents is yet another outstanding GAI contribution to practical international antitrust scholarship.  The comments were written by Koren W. Wong-Ervin, GAI Director and former Counsel for IP and International Antitrust at the U.S. FTC; Professor Joshua D. Wright, GAI Executive Director; Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; and Professor Bruce Kobayashi.  The comments emphasize that governmental micromanagement of patent licensing related to standards, as specifically proposed in the Discussion Paper, could prove counterproductive.

Below are highlights from the GAI’s comments, summarized by GAI Director Wong-Ervin:

  • Overall, the GAI is concerned with the Discussion Paper’s emphasis on concerns about holdup by patent holders, while omitting any concerns about holdup and holdout by implementers. The GAI is also concerned with the Discussion Paper’s summary of U.S. and EU law.
  • Injunctive Relief: The GAI strongly recommends against imposing an antitrust law sanction for seeking or enforcing injunctive relief, which is likely to reduce incentives to innovate and deter standard essential patent (SEP) holders from participating in standard setting, thereby depriving consumers of the substantial procompetitive benefits of standardized technologies.  Should, however, India decide to adopt such a sanction, at the very least it should adopt a safe harbor approach similar to that of the European Court of Justice’s in Huawei v. ZTE.
  • IPR Policy Guidelines: We respectfully urge that India not issue guidelines or a one-size-fits all template for standard-development organization (SDO) IPR policies.  In the GAI’s experience, the issues and choices regarding specific rules are best left to individual SDOs and their members to decide.
  • Royalty Caps: The GAI strongly urges against the imposition of royalty caps or guidelines on how private parties conduct arms-length licensing negotiations.  To achieve a balance between innovation and the protection of competition, monopoly prices should only be unlawful if they are the result of conduct that is unlawful on other grounds.
  • Nondisclosure Agreements (NDAs) and Transparency: The GAI strongly urges against the imposition of an antitrust sanction for using NDAs, or otherwise requiring transparency of patent licensing terms.  Because patent licenses often include the confidential business information of both the licensor and licensee, and procompetitive licensing depends critically upon the ability of the parties to negotiate without fear that sensitive information will be revealed to non-parties, NDAs are an essential safeguard.  To the extent that the antitrust theory of harm relating to NDAs is that their inclusion in license contracts undermines the “non-discriminatory” commitment in a FRAND license (the requirement that a patent be licensed under “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” or “FRAND” terms), an antitrust remedy is inappropriate and unnecessary.  The FRAND commitment is a contract and failure to perform that contract results in contract remedies.  Moreover, the “nondiscriminatory” prong in FRAND does not require licensing terms, including price, to be identical.
  • Remedies: The GAI strongly urges against the creation of an independent expert body to determine FRAND terms for SEP.  Instead, particularly in cases where a patent owner has a large worldwide portfolio of SEPs, international arbitration on a portfolio basis is likely the most efficient and realistic means of resolving FRAND disputes.  Otherwise, the patent owner would be required to file lawsuits around the world to adjudicate royalties on a patent-by-patent basis.  The availability of injunctive relief is also an essential potential remedy.

I am sharing the press release below:

George Mason University receives $30 million in gifts, renames School of Law after Justice Antonin Scalia

Largest combined gift in university’s history will support new scholarship programs

Arlington, VA— George Mason University today announces pledges totaling $30 million to the George Mason University Foundation to support the School of Law.  The gifts, combined, are the largest in university history. The gifts will help establish three new scholarship programs that will potentially benefit hundreds of students seeking to study law at Mason.

In recognition of this historic gift, the Board of Visitors has approved the renaming of the school to The Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason University.

“This is a milestone moment for the university,” said George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera. “These gifts will create opportunities to attract and retain the best and brightest students, deliver on our mission of inclusive excellence, and continue our goal to make Mason one of the preeminent law schools in the country.”

Mason has grown rapidly over the last four decades to become the largest public research university in Virginia. The School of Law was established in 1979 and has been continually ranked among the top 50 law programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

Justice Scalia, who served 30 years on the U.S. Supreme Court, spoke at the dedication of the law school building in 1999 and was a guest lecturer at the university.  He was a resident of nearby McLean, Virginia.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, his esteemed colleague on the Supreme Court for more than two decades, said Scalia’s opinions challenged her thinking and that naming the law school after him was a fine tribute.

“Justice Scalia was a law teacher, public servant, legal commentator, and jurist nonpareil. As a colleague who held him in highest esteem and great affection, I miss his bright company and the stimulus he provided, his opinions ever challenging me to meet his best efforts with my own. It is a tribute altogether fitting that George Mason University’s law school will bear his name. May the funds for scholarships, faculty growth, and curricular development aid the Antonin Scalia School of Law to achieve the excellence characteristic of Justice Scalia, grand master in life and law,” added Ginsburg.

“Justice Scalia’s name evokes the very strengths of our school: civil liberties, law and economics, and constitutional law,” said Law School Dean Henry N. Butler. “His career embodies our law school’s motto of learn, challenge, lead. As a professor and jurist, he challenged those around him to be rigorous, intellectually honest, and consistent in their arguments.”

The combined gift will allow the university to establish three new scholarship programs to be awarded exclusively and independently by the university:

Antonin Scalia Scholarship Awarded to students with excellent academic credentials.

A. Linwood Holton, Jr. Leadership Scholarship – Named in honor of the former governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, this scholarship will be awarded to students who have overcome barriers to academic success, demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities, or have helped others overcome discrimination in any facet of life.

F.A. Hayek Law, Legislation, and Liberty Scholarship – Named in honor of the 1974 Nobel Prize winner in economics, this scholarship will be awarded to students who have a demonstrated interest in studying the application of economic principles to the law.

“The growth of George Mason University’s law school, both in size and influence, is a tribute to the hard work of its leaders and faculty members,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “I am particularly pleased that new scholarship awards for students who face steep barriers in their academic pursuits will be named in honor of former Virginia Governor Linwood Holton, an enduring and appropriate legacy for a man who championed access to education for all Virginians.”

The scholarships will help Mason continue to be one of the most diverse universities in America.

“When we speak about diversity, that includes diversity of thought and exposing ourselves to a range of ideas and points of view,” said Cabrera. “Justice Scalia was an advocate of vigorous debate and enjoyed thoughtful conversations with those he disagreed with, as shown by his longtime friendship with Justice Ginsburg. That ability to listen and engage with others, despite having contrasting opinions or perspectives, is what higher education is all about.”

The gift includes $20 million that came to George Mason through a donor who approached Leonard A. Leo of the Federalist Society, a personal friend of the late Justice Scalia and his family.  The anonymous donor asked that the university name the law school in honor of the Justice. “The Scalia family is pleased to see George Mason name its law school after the Justice, helping to memorialize his commitment to a legal education that is grounded in academic freedom and a recognition of the practice of law as an honorable and intellectually rigorous craft,” said Leo. 

The gift also includes a $10 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation, which supports hundreds of colleges and universities across the country that pursue scholarship related to societal well-being and free societies.

“We’re excited to support President Cabrera and Dean Butler’s vision for the Law School as they welcome new students and continue to distinguish Mason as a world-class research university,” said Charles Koch Foundation President Brian Hooks.

The name change is pending approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

A formal dedication ceremony will occur in the fall.

About George Mason

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 33,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility.

About the Mason School of Law

The George Mason University School of Law is defined by three words: Learn. Challenge. Lead. The goal is to have students who will receive an outstanding legal education (Learn), be taught to critically evaluate prevailing orthodoxy and pursue new ideas (Challenge), and, ultimately, be well prepared to distinguish themselves in their chosen fields (Lead).

About Faster Farther—The Campaign for George Mason University

Faster Farther is about securing Mason’s place as the intellectual cornerstone of our region and a global leader in higher education. We have a goal to raise $500 million through 2018.       

 

We’re delighted to welcome two new bloggers to Truth on the Market: Gus Hurwitz and Ben Sperry.

Hurwitz-Israel-cropGus is an assistant professor of law at the University of Nebraska. His work looks at the interface between law and technology and the role of regulation in high-tech industries. He has a particular expertise in telecommunications law and technology. His current work focuses on administrative law and the FTC (as you might have noticed from his two contributions to our recent Section 5 UMC Symposium. His SSRN page is here.

Gus was the inaugural Research Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition (CTIC), prior to which he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at George Mason University Law School. From 2007–2010 he was a Trial Attorney with the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division in the Telecommunications and Media Enforcement Section (but I try not to hold that against him).

Gus also has a background in technology, with stints at Los Alamos National Lab and the Naval Research Lab prior to law school. Unique (as far as I know) among the bloggers here, he is also the former holder of a world record (for Internet2 land speed) with the Guinness Book of World Records.

Like others among us at TOTM, Gus earned his JD at the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an articles editor on the Chicago Journal of International Law and received Olin and MVP2 law and economics scholarships. He also holds an MA in Economics from George Mason University. He received his BA from St. John’s College.

sperry square edited

Ben Sperry is the Associate Director of the International Center for Law & Economics. Previously he engaged in technology policy at free market organizations like TechFreedom and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. While in law school, he clerked at the Institute for Justice and served as a summer legal fellow at the Washington Legal Foundation. Sperry graduated from George Mason University School of Law cum laude in 2012, where he was a member of the George Mason Law Review and a research assistant for Todd Zywicki. His areas of expertise include competition policy, telecommunications law, economic freedom and the law and economics of privacy, civil liberties and the First Amendment. He has written most recently on the law and economics of transaction reviews at the FCC and on Section 5 UMC.

We’re delighted to have these excellent new additions to our roster. Look for inaugural posts from each of them this weekend or early next week.