Table of Contents
Open Community Calendar
Message from the President Keith Toms
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Message from the Editor
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EPO presses pause on proceedings that depend on the plausibility referral to the EBA
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DraftKings Persuades PTAB to Invalidate Competitor’s Mobile Gambling Patent
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Self-Compassion for Lawyers: Dispelling Doubts & Getting Started
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Letter of the Editor
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Survey Regarding Support for Change of Boston Patent Law Association Name
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A stylish direction: how IP can support ethical fashion
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The Copyright Clash Between Artists: A Quiz
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Case Law Committee Meeting Summary - CalTech v. Broadcom
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Writing Competition announcement
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Members on the Move
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List of Officers and Board of Governors and Committees
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Job Listings
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Volume 53, Issue 2

Letter to the Editor

By Peter J. Karol, New England Law, Boston
Dear Officers and Board Members of the Boston Patent Law Association:
I write to express my strong support for changing the name of the Boston Patent Law Association to the Boston Intellectual Property Law Association or a similar name that encompasses all areas of intellectual property.
I am currently Professor of Law and Director of the Intellectual Property Law Certificate Program at New England Law | Boston, and Of Counsel at the Sunstein law firm. I have been a member of the BPLA for over a decade, and have also long been a member of the Boston IP American Inn of Court and Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A trademark is a source-identifying word, phrase, or design intended to link in the minds of consumers a product or service to its source. A trademark must be more than only original or aesthetically pleasing. In other words, a trademark must be more than merely ornamental to be registered.
In my capacity as Director of the IP program at New England Law and teacher of numerous IP electives, I have worked with literally hundreds of aspiring IP lawyers since I joined the school in 2010. As part of my job I try to introduce these students to the Boston IP law community, explain its workings, and facilitate their access to the profession. Although many of our students are committed to careers in patent law specifically, an equally large number opt to focus their studies on trademark, copyright, IP licensing and privacy law.
Non-patent-focused students are generally surprised and doubtful when I encourage them to participate in the Boston Patent Law Association. They don’t see a place for themselves there. These same students, however, are eager to come along to meetings of the IP Inn of Court.
In my view this hesitation to be part of the BPLA stems at least in part from the emphasis the BPLA’s name places on patent practice. It signals (intentionally or not) a strong preference for patent lawyers and pushes away the many future lawyers (and potential members) interested in the non-patent IP fields. Countless students simply assume the organization does not encompass other areas of IP law and some never learn otherwise.
In closing, let me affirm my knowledge of and appreciation for the long and storied history of the BPLA. I personally always saw a curmudgeonly sort of old Boston charm in the BPLA’s steadfast commitment to its original name (in the face of changes among other IP associations nationally decades ago). Having been a professor for many years now, though, I see the real and negative impact this non-inclusive branding has had
on student perception. In short, it discourages committed IP students (many of whom wish to stay local) from engaging with the BPLA. In my view this is too large a price to pay for tradition.
Peter J. Karol Professor of Law Director of the Intellectual Property Law Certificate Program
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