Ipse Dixit


Sarah Burstein & Saurabh Vishnubhakat on the Truth About Design Patents

Season 1, Ep. 755

In this episode, Sarah Burstein, Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, and Saraubh Vishnubhakat, Professor of Law at Texas A&M University School of Law, discuss their article "The Truth About Design Patents," which will be published in the American University Law Review. Here is the abstract:

Design patents are hot. Scholars and policymakers are increasingly focusing on this once-niche area of law. However, many of the empirical studies in this area—including old ones that still get cited—rely on statistics and empirical conclusions that were methodologically questionable from the start, or have become outdated, or both. In this paper, we make two sets of contributions to that important and underdeveloped literature. First, we review the empirical studies of design patents thus far, including those that pre- and post-date the creation of the Federal Circuit, and we update the findings of those studies. Second, we consider a set of institutional questions that, to our knowledge, the prior literature has not even broached. Beyond the federal courts, we explore design patent enforcement at the ITC and the use of administrative process to challenge design patents in the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. These contributions put the design patent system into much-needed context with broader debates about U.S. intellectual property policy.

This episode was hosted by Brian L. Frye, Spears-Gilbert Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. Frye is on Twitter at @brianlfrye.

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Aliza Shatzman on Holding Judges Accountable

Season 1, Ep. 758
In this episode, Aliza Shatzman, an attorney and advocate based in Washington, DC, discusses her article "Untouchable Judges? What I've learned about harassment in the judiciary, and what we can do to stop it," which will be published in the UCLA Journal of Gender & Law. Here is the abstract:Drawing from the author’s own experience of gender discrimination, harassment, and retaliation during her clerkship and in the years following it by a former DC Superior Court judge, this Article analyzes the deficits in current federal and DC judicial reporting systems to demonstrate the urgent need for reform. I argue that harassment in the judiciary is pervasive, due to both enormous power disparities between judges and law clerks, and various institutional barriers that perpetuate misconduct and discourage reporting. I survey existing methods of judicial discipline in both the federal and DC Courts and argue that these provide insufficient redress for workplace misconduct. I then discuss the Judiciary Accountability Act (JAA) (HR 4827/S 2553), which would finally protect judiciary employees, including law clerks and federal public defenders, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, enabling employees to sue their harassers and seek damages for harm done to their careers, reputations, and future earning potential. Furthermore, I argue that the DC Courts should be included in the JAA, because they are Article I courts created and regulated by Congress, and DC Courts judges are arguably federal judges for Title VII and disciplinary purposes. I also offer a variety of other proposed reforms, which would both strengthen the JAA and provide additional protections to uniquely vulnerable judiciary employees. I conclude by reflecting on my attempts to report the misconduct I experienced, how the systems failed me when I tried to report, and my efforts to seek justice for myself and accountability for the misbehaving former judge.This episode was hosted byBrian L. Frye, Spears-Gilbert Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. Frye is on Twitter at@brianlfrye.