Category Archives: Events


CFP: Patent Futures. A History

“Patent Futures: A History,” is the fourth and final workshop of the ERC-funded project “Patents as Scientific Information, 1895-2020,” ( in collaboration with The International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP

Call For Papers: Patent Futures. A History

Dates: April 26-28, 2023.

Venue: Mundaneum, Mons, Belgium.

Call closes: November 15, 2022.

Proposal format: 500 Word proposal/200 Word bio.

Submit to:

Co-founded by the two Belgian lawyers Paul Otlet (1868-1944) and Henri LaFontaine (1854-1943), Mundaneum, has played a crucial role for PASSIM, both in terms of its structure and design, but also because it was here the project was first conceived. As PASSIM draws to a close, we return to “the scene of the crime” for a workshop on the past, present, and future of patents.
Patents tend to be associated with progress, modernity, and future usefulness. At the same time, we know that they are profoundly contextual, situated in specific historical eras and traditions. Time and various temporalities therefore occupy crucial points of departure when researching the history of patents.
We now invite Ph.D. candidates or recent Ph.D.’s (degree awarded no earlier than during 2022) to submit proposals on topics that include but are not limited to: questions of memory and regimes of remembrance in the patent system; legal temporality in general, especially in relation to the construction of value and capital; efficiency and speed as elements of bureaucratic time inside the Patent Office. In line with Otlet and LaFontaine’s Mundaneum legacy and their visionary work on knowledge circulation, we also invite contributions that focus on the visualization of patents and knowledge in general. Finally, we encourage submissions that consider the various formats and temporalities of patent records and/or engage critically with the archives and sources of interdisciplinary patent scholarship.
PASSIM will cover the travel and accommodation cost of the selected participants.
Come and meet the entire PASSIM team and our special invitees: David Pretel, Assistant Professor of History and Economic Institutions, Autonomous University of Madrid; Katarina Nordqvist, Associate Professor and Head of Section, Swedish Ministry of Education and Research.
Follow us on @passimproject as we announce more invited commentators!

Any questions can be directed to the organizers of the workshop:
Jesper Alkarp
Isabelle Strömstedt
Johan Larson Lindal



23 May 2022 BST 11am; CET 12pm; EST 6am: PST 3am; AEST 8pm

‘Paris to New York: The Transatlantic Fashion Industry in the Twentieth Century’

Véronique Pouillard (Oslo) in conversation with Stina Teilman-Lock (CBS) and Johanna Gibson (QMUL).

Chaired by ISHTIP Co-Director, Kathy Bowrey (UNSW).

Fashion is one of the most dynamic industries in the world, with an annual retail value of $3 trillion and globally recognized icons like Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent. How did this industry generate such economic and symbolic capital?

Focusing on the roles of entrepreneurs, designers, and institutions in fashion’s two most important twentieth-century centers, Paris to New York tells the history of the industry as a negotiation between art and commerce. In the late nineteenth century, Paris-based firms set the tone for a global fashion culture nurtured by artistic visionaries. In the burgeoning New York industry, however, the focus was on mass production. American buyers, trend scouts, and designers crossed the Atlantic to attend couture openings, where they were inspired by, and often accused of counterfeiting, designs made in Paris. For their part, Paris couturiers traveled to New York to understand what American consumers wanted and to make deals with local manufacturers for whom they designed exclusive garments and accessories. The cooperation and competition between the two continents transformed the fashion industry in the early and mid-twentieth century, producing a hybrid of art and commodity.

Véronique Pouillard shows how the Paris–New York connection gave way in the 1960s to a network of widely distributed design and manufacturing centers. Since then, fashion has diversified. Tastes are no longer set by elites alone, but come from the street and from countercultures, and the business of fashion has transformed into a global enterprise.

Véronique Pouillard is Professor of International History at the University of Oslo and Principal Investigator, ERC CoG 818523, CREATIVE IPR – The History of Intellectual Property Rights in the Creative Industries, 2018.

Stina Teilmann-Lock is Associate Professor at the  Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School.

Johanna Gibson is Herchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property Law and Deputy Director of the Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS), School of Law, Queen Mary, University of London.

‘Performing Copyright’ : Luke McDonagh (LSE) in conversation with Jane Wessel (USNA) & Kathy Bowrey (UNSW)

27 April 2022 BST 1pm; CET 2pm; EST 8 am; PST 5am; AEST 10pm

Performing Copyright. Law, Theatre and Authorship.

Luke M. McDonagh (LSE) in conversation with Jane Wessel (USDA) and Kathy Bowrey (UNSW).

Chaired by ISHTIP Co-Director, Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, (Linköping University) .

Based on empirical research, this innovative book explores issues of performativity and authorship in the theatre world under copyright law and addresses several inter-connected questions: who is the author and first owner of a dramatic work? Who gets the credit and the licensing rights? What rights do the performers of the work have? Given the nature of theatre as a medium reliant on the re-use of prior existing works, tropes, themes and plots, what happens if an allegation of copyright infringement is made against a playwright? Furthermore, who possesses moral rights over the work?

To evaluate these questions in the context of theatre, the first part of the book examines the history of the dramatic work both as text and as performative work. The second part explores the notions of authorship and joint authorship under copyright law as they apply to the actual process of creating plays, referring to legal and theatrical literature, as well as empirical research. The third part looks at the notion of copyright infringement in the context of theatre, noting that cases of alleged theatrical infringement reach the courts comparatively rarely in comparison with music cases, and assessing the reasons for this with respect to empirical research. The fourth part examines the way moral rights of attribution and integrity work in the context of theatre. The book concludes with a prescriptive comment on how law should respond to the challenges provided by the theatrical context, and how theatre should respond to law.

Luke McDonagh is Assistant Professor at the Law Department at the London School of Economics (LSE) where he undertakes research in the areas of Intellectual Property Law and Constitutional Law. His new book Performing Copyright. Law. Theatre and Copyright is published by Bloomsbury Press, 2021.

Jane Wessel is Assistant Professor of English at the US Naval Academy. Her forthcoming book is Owning Performance | Performing Ownership. Literary Property and the Eighteenth-Century British Stage (Michigan University Press, 2022).

Kathy Bowrey is a Professor in the School of Law, Society and Criminology, Faculty of Law and Justice, University of New South Wales, Australia and ISHTIP Co-Director.

CFP: Patents in the service of War And Peace

We invite contributions to the 3rd workshop of the ERC-funded project PASSIM (Patents as Scientific Information, 1895–2020), in collaboration with The International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP).

Deadline is soon: October 30, 2021

Dates: May 16–18, 2022
Venue: Norrköping, Sweden
Call closes: October 30, 2021
Proposal format: 500 Word proposal/200 Word bio
Submit to:

Although legal historians and humanities scholars have studied patent law and its histories beyond their economic effects, it is surprising that they have devoted less attention to their military entanglements. The workshop welcomes papers on patents, relating to the theme of ‘war and peace’. In this sense, patents are understood as both legal documents and property rights, and conceptualised in a variety of disciplinary ways, ranging from legal tools to secure economic monopolies, to ‘weapons’ protecting national interests. In so doing, the workshop aims to explore patents as devices that create and redistribute power, and as active protagonists fuelling and constituting so-called “patent wars”.

More about the workshop and how to submit papers (PDF)

Any questions can be directed to the organizers of the workshop: Johanna DahlinJosé BellidoMartin Fredriksson.

Identity and IP: how who we are informs our work

ISHTIP Online Discussion. 19/20 July 2021

A discussion of personal and identity-based perspectives exploring how these connect in some way with IP writing and research.

Attendees: Fady Aoun, Kathy Bowrey, Veit Erlmann, Susy Frankel, Hyo Yoon Kang, Jessica Lai, Sharon Le Gall, Toni Lester, Charleston Thomas, Hai-Yuean Tualima, Andrew Ventimiglia, Andrea Wallace.

Academic Open Letter in Support of the TRIPS Intellectual Property Waiver Proposal

July 2021

ISHTIP members Prof Graham Dutfield (University of Leeds), Dr Hyo Yoon Kang (Kent Law School), Dr Luke McDonagh (London School of Economics), along with Dr Aisling McMahon (Maynooth University) and Dr Siva Thambisetty (London School of Economics) have drafted an open letter signed by over 100 IP academics in support of the Indian and South African proposal for temporary TRIPS waiver “as a necessary and proportionate legal measure towards the clearing of existing intellectual property barriers to scaling up of production of COVID-19 health technologies in a direct, consistent and effective fashion”.

Drawing upon the history and theory of intellectual property, the letter acknowledges that patents have never been absolute rights. They are monopoly rights granted to serve the public interest. Patents “ must not be allowed to stand in the way of measures designed to make accessible the health technologies needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, where universal global access is essential for the global public good.”

Monopolies over tacit and informal information, are also implicated in the current lack of global capacity for vaccine production and other health technologies, as well as in enabling their inequitable distribution.

The letter calls on the governments of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Norway, Switzerland and the European Union to drop their opposition at the World Trade Organisation and to support the TRIPS waiver proposal.

You can read the full letter and list of signatories here:

Panel Discussion on Intellectual Property Law Scholarship and Pedagogy 
in Times of Covid-19 Pandemic

Co-hosted by 
Center for Social Critiques of Law, Kent Law School and 

International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP)

Graham Dutfield (Leeds)
Hyo Yoon Kang (Kent)
Fiona Macmillan (Birkbeck)
Luke McDonagh (LSE)
Aisling McMahon (Maynooth)
Alain Pottage (Kent/ SciencesPo)
Els Torreele (UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose) 

Traditionally IP law, and patent law in particular, had been regarded a legal technical and technocratic subfield. This panel discussion intends to review and discuss the state of the IP scholarship and pedagogy in light of the fissures within the field that have been laid bare at least since the so-called “TRIPS IP waiver” discussion. 

Over the course of the pandemic, issues around intellectual property law, especially regarding monopoly rights and trade secrets around the Covid-19 vaccine, have been problematised in general media. These have often centered around the ongoing battle for TRIPS IP waiver since October 2020. 

Amidst the ongoing discussions, intellectual property law and particularly patent law, have been catapulted into the public eye. After US threw in its limited support, there has been a divergence of perspectives on the Waiver proposal argued by IP scholars, both in favour and against the proposal and its significance. 

Diverse approaches to IP law and its purpose within the scholarship are not new. The current crystallisation of IP law’s current role in the prolonging of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, affords an apt opportunity to take review the scholarly field of of intellectual property law itself and its political and social role. 

The panel will discuss existing IP law scholarship and pedagogy, identifying their epistemological and ontological foundations, methodologies, and their relation to the current political economy. It will critically assess the past and present of the IP scholarly field and offer some thoughts for its improvement. 

Free registration:

‘Cultural Heritage and IP’, Fiona Macmillan in conversation with Jose Bellido and Kathy Bowrey

May 20 BST 11am/CET 12 noon/ Pacific 3am/EST 6am/AEST 8pm

‘Cultural Heritage and IP’, Fiona Macmillan (Birkbeck) in conversation with Jose Bellido (Kent) and Kathy Bowrey (UNSW)

The encounter between creativity and cultural production, on the one hand, and legal regulation, on the other, demonstrates the systemic and conceptual limits of the law. It raises a host of questions that traverse – in multiple senses and contexts – distinctions between things like public and private, property and the commons, individual and community, product and process, idea and expression, tangible and intangible, movable and immovable, conservation and destruction, authentic and fake, and, perhaps most fundamentally, nature and culture. This book is about these binary distinctions – about how they hold and how they do not hold – in the context of the legal regimes governing copyright and cultural heritage. While the book argues that these two legal regimes are held together by a common approach to these binary distinctions, they are also held apart by their dominant frames of reference. While copyright as a private property right locates all relationships in the context of the market, the context of cultural heritage relationships is the community, of which the market forms a part but does not – or, at least, should not – control the whole. The current international law concept of cultural heritage, however, is weakened and hollowed out by a fossilized vision of heritage that is not up to the task of resisting the constant impositions of the market. The book proposes a radicalized concept of cultural heritage/property that locates and regulates cultural production within the dynamic and mutually constitutive process of community formation. Only such a concept, the book argues, will provide a basis for resisting the reduction of everything to its value in the market, for resisting the commodification, and creeping propertization, of all our cultural production.

Fiona Macmillan is Professor of Law at Birkbeck, University of London, and Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Roma Tre and the University of Technology, Sydney. She is a member of the ISHTIP Executive Committee. Her new book, Intellectual and Cultural Property. Between Market and Community, was published by Routledge, 2021.

Jose Bellido is Reader in Law at Kent University. He is a member of the ISHTIP Governing Board and a PASSIM project team member.

Kathy Bowrey is Professor at the Faculty of Law & Justice, University of New South Wales and Co-Director, ISHTIP. She is a Visiting Scholar, State Library of NSW (2021) and Research Fellow, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Australia.

To download a transcript of this discussion:

Coming soon

‘Patent Capital in the Covid-19 Pandemic’, Hyo Yoon Kang in conversation with Mario Biagioli and Javier Lezaun

May 4 BST 10am/CET 11am/Pacific 2am/EST 5am/ AEST 7pm

‘Patent Capital in the Covid-19 Pandemic’, Hyo Yoon Kang (Kent) in conversation with Mario Biagioli (UCLA) and Javier Lezaun (Oxford)

In the present pandemic, there has been increased public interest and media reporting on intellectual property, in particular patents and know-how, in relation to the vaccine and other medicines against Covid-19. The WTO is still considering the proposed waiver of TRIPS related enforcement of intellectual property rights in Covid-19 medicines. Such an interest in the purpose and effects of patent rights has also been accompanied by some misunderstandings and misleading polemics.

Drawing on her recent writing about ‘Patent Capital in the Covid-19 Pandemic’ as a starting point, Hyo Yoon Kang will be in conversation with Mario Biagioli and Javier Lezaun. In light of the current extraordinary mobilisation of scientific, technical and financial resources, the panel will discuss the justification for patents and the notions of commons and publics, and consider them within the interdisciplinary intellectual property, science and technology studies scholarships.

Hyo Yoon Kang is Reader in Law at University of Kent. She leads Kent Law School as a project partner in the ERC PASSIM project.

Mario Biagioli is Distinguished Professor of Law and Communication at the University of California at Los Angeles. He is a member of the ISHTIP Advisory Board.

Javier Lezaun is Associate Professor in the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and Director of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (InSIS) at the University of Oxford.

To download a transcript of this discussion:

‘Commodification of creativity’, Kathy Bowrey in conversation with Martin Fredriksson and Brad Sherman

22 April BST 11am/CET 12 noon/ Pacific 3am/EST 6am/AEST 8pm

‘Commodification of creativity’, Kathy Bowrey (UNSW) in conversation with Martin Fredriksson (Linköping) and Brad Sherman (Uni of Queensland)

There is an enduring and wide-reaching interest in understanding how copyright interacts with creativity, free speech, national cultures and new technologies. Without tracing the incorporation of authorship into the actual business practices of the global book, music and film industries we can’t begin to fully appreciate creator investments in copyright philosophy. How was the author’s right to intangible property as established in the 19th century so effectively mobilised by multinational corporations to create the modern cultural industries of the 20th century? Despite the image projected in advocacy that highlighted the benefits of copyright to all in the abstract, not all writers exploited copyright in the same manner or had access to the same social privileges, though standard forms of exploitation did emerge. To understand why some benefited and why others did less well, the relevance of writers’ different personalities, personal objectives, knowledge, experience, social networks and fortunes needs to be taken into account, but these factors play out differently depending upon genre, anticipated market, commodity forms and geographical location. Change in the significance of copyright and better outcomes for creators can come about when the value of authorship is reconsidered in light of a deeper understanding of how law functions in the cultural marketplace. It is hoped that readers of this book will support this endeavour by drawing upon a more critical understanding of copyright’s history in the 20th century and, in helping shift how relationships between art, law and society are perceived, deliver more control over creative lives than was evident in the previous century.

Kathy Bowrey is Professor at the Faculty of Law & Justice, University of New South Wales and Co-Director, ISHTIP. Her new book Copyright, Creativity, Big Media and Cultural Value. Incorporating the Author was published by Routledge, 2021.

Martin Fredriksson is Associate Professor at the Unit for Culture and Society (Tema Q), Linköping University. He is a member of the ISHTIP Governing Board.

Brad Sherman is Professor of Law and UQ Laureate Fellow at the TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland. He is a member of the ISHTIP Advisory Board.

To download a transcript of this discussion:

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