Section Focus

Towards Key Advocating in FY 2014

Robert O. Lindefjeld

©2013. Published in Landslide, Vol. 6, No. 1, September/October 2013, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

The ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law (ABA-IPL) has long been a leader in bringing attention to intellectual property issues in Congress, to the executive branch, and with an important and balanced voice in addressing the judiciary. We keep close watch on emerging developments and identify those issues on which we might want to formulate policy and recommendations.

While IP issues have traditionally been nonpartisan, in the last decade increasingly complex IP areas, coupled with the global attention to the importance of IP protection, have often resulted in differences of opinion on how strong the law should be.

As an entity of the American Bar Association, the ABA-IPL Section must have formal policy on an issue in order to advocate, and our positions must also be consistent with Association policy. Once the policy is established, ABA-IPL communicates its views and recommendations to relevant policy makers, including Congress, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Copyright Office, and the U.S. Supreme Court. For amicus briefs in the judicial branch, the Section must not only develop Section policy, but must also have that policy adopted by the House of Delegates as Association policy.

The reasoned, balanced debate and commentary that distinguishes ABA-IPL work enables us to provide effective and nonpartisan advice on important legal issues. All Section members have the opportunity to participate in grassroots activity that drives the Section’s efforts to develop its views and opinions.

We seek to advocate practical and productive action, utilizing the voice of the Association in this advocacy when possible.

A robust 2013–14 is already in gear, and I look forward to working with our council, divisions, and committees in our Section advocacy and activities this year.

Robert O. Lindefjeld is chair of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law. He is general counsel and chief intellectual property counsel of Nantero Inc.