2022 Access to Justice Gala

On April 27, 2022, a group of representatives from the Honorable Lee Yeakel Intellectual Property American Inn of Court attended the Access to Justice Gala.  The table had the most fun and spirit of all supporters, led equally by Judge and Anne Yeakel and by Sarah Holland’s daughter Edith, who was nominated by American Gateways nominated Edith for recognition for her annual lemonade-stand fundraisers.  A summary of the successful an inspiring evening, which raised $550 thousand for access to justice in Texas, can be found here.

From left to right: Anne Yeakel, the Honorable Judge Lee Yeakel, Megan Boulette, Edith Holland, Jason Boulette, Sarah Holland, Marc Vockell, Chris Jacobs, and Leah Buratti.

February 2022 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel IP American Inn of Court met on February 17, 2022 for a presentation on In re Cirba and the State of Standing.  The presentation explored the issue of standing including the historical context of standing in view of Article II, case law governing standing requirements in  cases including Lexmark Int'l, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc.; Lone Star Silicon Innovations LLC v. Nanya Tech. Corp.; and  Schwendimann v. Arkwright Advanced Coating, Inc., and the Federal Circuit’s denial of writ of mandamus In re Cirba.

January 2022 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel IP American Inn of Court met on February 17, 2022 to hear from Judge Albright on the state of his docket and practice tips for 2022. Judge Albright advised that he is happy with his docket, which included ~105 Markman hearings in 2021. Judge Albright said that the new magistrate in Waco will be a big help in taking some of the Markman and discovery hearings off his docket. As of the presentation, if you filed a patent lawsuit in Waco, a Markman hearing would likely be held within ~7 months and a trial within ~16 months. Judge Albright is a proponent of giving younger, less experienced lawyers an opportunity to argue. When asked if he’s seen any obvious mistakes during his time on the bench, Judge Albright says that trial lawyers and experts need to do a better job of working together to present the expert’s report at trial.

December 2021 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel IP Inn of Court welcomed a return to in-person meetings in December with a presentation entitled “Block-Chain and IP Law . . . NFTs and other uses of Block-Chain—Christmas Edition.”  Inn member Hong Shi provided attendees with instructions on how to mint, buy, and sell NFTs, as well as how to create a digital wallet to hold NFTs. Keeping with the Christmas theme, the presentation included several white elephant trivia rounds hosted by Inn Member James Ray, wherein correct responses to trivia questions entitled an Inn member in attendance to select (or steal) a Christmas themed NFT. The Christmas themed NFTs were also accompanied by traditional (physical) white elephant gifts and one of the Christmas themed NFTs was a specially minted NFT of the first slide of the presenting group’s presentation.

Next, Inn member Giulio Yaquinto, discussed how evolving uses of NFTs intersect with copyright and trademark law. Mr. Yaquinto specifically discussed how ownership of an underlying copyright or trademark is distinct from NFT ownership, and that ownership of an NFT does not necessarily guarantee ownership of the underlying work or mark represented in the NFT. Additionally, Mr. Yaquinto discussed counterfeiting concerns related to trademarks and/or copyrights in the NFT context as well as first amendment issues related to uses of trademarks or copyrights in expressive NFTs.

Inn member Alex Knapp, then hosted a discussion with guest speaker Chris Heatherly. Mr. Heatherly is head of games and engagement at Recur, a technology company that designs and develops on-chain branded experiences for NFTs. Topics discussed included an overview of the current landscape for NFTs, comparisons of NFTs to other types of collectibles, and the future outlook for NFTs.  

At the conclusion of the meeting, instructions were sent to winners of the white elephant trivia rounds on how to set up their digital wallets and collect their white elephant NFT gifts.

Members of Pupilage Group 3: Stephen Dartt; Alex Knapp; James Ray; Karl Bayer; Hong Shi (from left to right)

Team Leader Alex Knapp hosting guest speaker Chris Heatherly

November 2021 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel Intellectual Property Inn of Court met on November 11, 2021 to welcome guest speaker Peter Afrasiabi. From his battles with Madonna over the “Material Girl” brand to protecting artists and inventors, Variety Magazine has named Peter a Top Intellectual Property and Entertainment lawyer. A legal commentator on NBC, CBS, the Wall Street Journal and on national radio programs, Peter is also a Faculty member at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and a recognized “Super Lawyer.” Peter shared his first-hand experience working with clients in the lifestyle industries - covering everything from the right of publicity and patents in the sex industry, to the difficulties in obtaining trademarks in the marijuana industry, to copyright and licensing fights between rock and roll stars and politicians. Due to the pandemic, the meeting was held remotely and featured a videoconferenced presentation by Peter, hosted by the Inn's second pupilage team under team leader David Dyer.

Members of Pupilage Group 2

October 2021 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel IP American Inn of Court met over Zoom on October 21, 2021 for the presentation IP Issues with Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL). This is a timely topic given recent Supreme Court case and changes to rules governing collegiate athletes. The presentation began with an overview and introduction to the right of publicity, which included addressing Texas and California common law and the relevant statutes in New York and California. Next we discussed the recent Supreme Court case NCAA v. Alston, and the subsequent NCAA NIL policy changes. We then heard from a panel that included the Associate Director of Brand, Trademarks, and Licensing for the University of Texas, at UT Law student who was formerly a college athlete, and guest attorney whose practice focuses on NIL-related issues.

Members of Pupilage Group 1

March 2021 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel IP American Inn of Court met on March 25, 2021. The program explored the Google LLC v. Oracle America, Inc. case under consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court. Presentations provided a detailed background of the case and discussions of the questions presented to the Supreme Court including whether copyright protection extends to a software interface and whether Google’s use of a software interface in the context of creating a new computer program constitutes fair use. In addition, the program included a discussion of Supreme Court briefs and oral arguments.

February 2021 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel Intellectual Property Inn of Court met on February 25, 2021 for their fifth CLE-approved presentation of the 2020-2021 Inn year. The meeting was held remotely and featured a videoconferenced presentation by the Inn's fifth pupilage team under team leader Jered Matthysse. Presented in an engaging Q&A format, this program covered various legal questions that lawyers often get asked at cocktail parties and the various ways that the judicial system identifies and addresses these claims. Presenters Josh Jones, Vikram Iyengar, Mike Mudrow, John Williams, and Alex Piala challenged Inn members to provide answers to the questions presented, and a discussion of relevant law pertaining to the question was then provided.

January 2021 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel IP American Inn of Court met on January 21, 2021 met over zoom to hear a presentation on Artificial intelligence and the practice of law. AI continues its rapid growth and profound impact on the world, transforming numerous industries. The program for the Inn's January meeting centered on legal issues and ethics considerations in implementing and using AI-based applications, including with respect to its use in hiring, in law practice (including in civil discovery and in transactional practice), the implications the use of AI by lawyers has with respect to the professional ethics rules, and developments regarding AI and the USPTO.

December 2020 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel Inn of Court had a virtual meeting in December 2020 discussing the intersection of Antitrust Law and IP Law.  Inn Members Tim Dewburry and Jacob Porter lead the presentation. The first guest speaker Craig Falls, a Partner at Dechert LLP, provided a background on the law applicable to the intersection of the two fields of law. The second guest speaker, Michael Murray of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, provided remarks on recent developments in the area. After the meeting, the DOJ formalized and published the remarks at the following site: https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/acting-principal-deputy-assistant-attorney-general-michael-murray-delivers-remarks

November 2020 Meeting

On November 12, 2020, the Honorable Lee Yeakel Intellectual Property Inn of Court held its second CLE-approved meeting of the 2020-2021 Inn year. The program for this meeting including a presentation on remote advocacy in depositions, hearings, and trials from the perspective of the advocate and the bench. Inn members gained insights and information to effectively negotiate the new era of advocacy.

October 2020 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel Intellectual Property Inn of Court met on October 15, 2020 for their first CLE-approved presentation of the 2020-2021 Inn year.  Due to the pandemic, the meeting was held remotely and featured a videoconferenced presentation by the Inn's first pupilage team under team leader Aashish Kapadia.   Presented in an interactive and engaging game-show format, this program covered non-meritorious IP claims and the various ways that the judicial system identifies and addresses these claims.  Presenters Clark Oberembt, Joshua Graham, Ben Ediger, and Matt Melancon challenged Inn members to provide answers (in the form of a question) to queries about recent cases that were resolved early (e.g., on a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment).  After polling users for their answers, a discussion of relevant cases pertaining to the question was provided.

January 2020 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel IP Inn of Court held its fourth CLE-approved meeting of this Inn year on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at The Headliner's Club in Austin. The program for the meeting, organized by our fourth pupilage team under team leader Trey Hebert, focused on pop culture's view of the legal profession, asking "Is it right?" The presentation took an analytical look at societal views on lawyers and the legal profession. Using comics, jokes, and other media as seeds for discussion, the presentation analyzed misconceptions, underlying truths, and how those beliefs shape the rules that govern attorney behavior. First, student member Kean Hiri gave an introduction to the presentation. Next, Stephen Dartt addressed the perception that lawyers lie, with some hypotheticals. Next, Diya Liu addressed the perception that lawyers charge too much, and that lawyers file too many cases. Next, Tim Dewberry addressed the perception that lawyers drag out cases, and that lawyers over complicate. Next, Stu Shapley addressed the perception that lawyers lack professional courtesy, and that lawyers are incompetent. Finally, team leader Trey Hebert summed it all up with a conclusion. Each section included multiple real-time poll questions for the audience, where the audience could text their answers, and the results would show up in the presentation in real-time.

December 2019 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel IP Inn of Court held its third CLE-approved meeting of this Inn year on December 16, 2019 at The Headliner's Club in Austin. The program for the meeting, organized by our third pupilage team under team leader David Hoffman, focused on voir dire. With fewer and fewer IP cases going to trial, IP practitioners have relatively few opportunities to learn critical voir dire skills.  Group three presented two guest speakers with expertise in voir dire.  The first, Britta Stanton, is a former experience trial attorney that now works as a jury consultant and advisor.  The second, Jason Barnes, is a specialist in trial graphics and presentation with over 100 trials under his belt.  Their presentation focused on techniques for conducting voir dire, identifying archetypes for the various types of expected jurors, and choosing jurors to strike.  They also conducted a module on the ethics of using social media during voir dire.   

November 2019 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel IP Inn of Court held its second CLE-approved meeting of this Inn year on November 13, 2019 at The Headliner's Club in Austin. The program for the meeting, organized by our second pupilage team under team leader Brian C. Banner, focused on legal issues in social media. By 2020, one study estimates that 1.7 megabytes of data will be created every second for every person on earth. Social media content makes up a big part of that number, and each video, snap, tweet, or image posted could implicate intellectual property and other rights. Two guest speakers and two team members presented. The first guest speaker, Jason Bloom of Haynes & Boone LLP (Dallas), discussed the perils of using copyrighted materials on social media, and what to do if you find someone infringing your content. Student Inn member Aro Han gave a brief and humorous presentation covering copyright memes for people who know IP. The second guest speaker, Jim Hemphill of Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody (Austin), discussed the First Amendment, Copyright, Defamation, and Social Media, which included real world examples from the "cute little girl" case, Instagram model cases, and more. Inn Member Jacob Porter of Dechert LLP (Austin) discussed the collision between the Texas Anti-SLAPP Statute (TCPA) and trade secret misappropriation.

Back row (left-to-right): Vikram Iyengar, Jose Villarreal, Kent Chambers, Steve Wingard, Rob King, Brian Banner Front row (left-to-right): Hong Shi, Aro Han, Darlene Ghavimi

October 2019 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel IP Inn of Court held its first CLE-approved meeting of this Inn year on October 17, 2019 at The Headliner's Club in Austin.  The program for the meeting, which was organized by our first pupilage team under team leader Jennifer Nall, consisted of skits prepared by five subteams that enacted real-world fact patterns taken from USPTO and state bar disciplinary proceedings, accompanied by discussions of applicable ethical rules. Subteam #1-Michael Barrett (Cirrus Logic), Joseph Abraham (Dechert), Shyam Palaiyanur (Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati)-addressed issues related to facilitating the unauthorized practice of law through failure to supervise unlicensed persons engaged in patent preparation, and failure to inform and communicate with clients.  Subteam #2-Raghav Bajaj (Haynes Boone), Alexander Piala (Baker Botts), and Bill Raman (Fleckman & McGlynn)-addressed issues related to an attorney's failure to diligently represent a nonpaying client rather than terminating the representation.  Subteam #3-Mark Rozman (Trop Pruner & Hu), Nicole Teitler Cave (Zagorin Cave), Juliet Mitchell Dirba (USPTO), and James Ray (Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr)-addressed issues related to when a patent attorney, without authorization, adds themselves as a co-inventor on a patent application for an invention developed in the course of the representation.  Subteam #4-Leanne Flatter (Fish & Richardson), David Parker (Parker Highlander), and Jared Matthysse (Pirkey Barber)-addressed issues related to an attorney's continued practice of law during a period in which the attorney's license has been suspended.  Finally, Subteam #5-Wes Enders (Egan, Peterman, Enders & Huston), Brooke Elizabeth Cohen (Law Student, Univ. of Texas), and Eagle Robinson (Norton Rose Fulbright)-addressed issues related to an attorney's inflation of fees and failure to refund unearned fees, misuse of confidential information, and lying to the state bar during a disciplinary investigation.

Back Row, Left to Right: Nicole Cave, Judge Juliet Dirba, Mark Rozman, James Ray, David Parker, Jered Matthysse, Michael Barrett, Shyam Palaiyanur Front Row, Left to Right: Brooke Cohen, Jennifer Nall, Eagle Robinson, Leanne Loper, Joseph Abraham, Raghav Bajaj, Alex Piala

January 2019 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel IP Inn of Court held its fourth CLE-approved meeting of this Inn year on January 17, 2019 at The Headliner's Club in Austin. The program for the meeting included presentations on music licensing and copyright issues by Student Member Kyle Bailey, Melanie McCool of Mood Media, Wesley Lewis of Haynes and Boone, LLP, and Scott Cole of McKool Smith. Kyle Bailey discussed some basic concepts of copyright law and an overview of the Music Modernization Act ("MMA"). Melanie McCool discussed her experience with lobbying efforts while Congress was considering the MMA including issues that led to the MMA and the changes brought about by the MMA. Wesley Lewis discussed the standard for determining when a copyright in a musical work has been infringed including a discussion of two cases, Williams v. Gaye and Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin. Scott Cole discussed his experience litigating a contract dispute involving underlying copyrights in musical works between Quincy Jones and the estate of Michael Jackson (Quincy Jones v. MJJP, Inc.). The program concluded with Master of the Bench Karl Bayer moderating a panel made up of our presenters. The panel discussed various copyright issues and also answered a number of questions from the audience.

From left to right: Back row: David Armendariz, Brian Range, Karl Bayer, Alex Knapp, Kyle Bailey, David Dyer; Front row: Raghav Bajaj, Allison McDade, Melissa Pace, Stephen Dartt

December 2018 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel IP Inn of Court held its third CLE-approved meeting of this Inn year on December 19, 2018 at The Headliner's Club in Austin.  The program for the meeting hosted an interview with Alan Albright, a newly appointed United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.  Members interviewed Judge Albright about his career trajectory, the procedures he is implementing in his courtroom, his goals for courtroom conduct, and how he plans to handle Markman cases. The audience asked questions of Judge Albright towards the conclusion of the program.

From left to right: Alex Shahrestani, Kevin Burgess, David O'Brian, John Williams, Chad Ennis, Bill Barber, Chris Ryan, Bill Raman

Pro Bono Update

On Saturday, December 1, Pro Bono Committee member Cat Garza organized a clinic at American Gateways, where a group worked with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants and helped about a dozen young people prepare DACA applications and work authorizations.  The client stories and the application process complexity were both pretty eye-opening to most in attendance. This clinic was attended by Inn members Tamsen Barrett, Michele Connors, Mark Rozman, Peter Ayers, and Steve Meleen.  Thanks to American Gateways staff--Edna Yang, Rebecca Lightsey, and Felicia Simpson--for organizing and supporting the clinic. 

From left to right: Edna Yang, Michele Connors, Rebecca Lightsey, Tamsen Barrett, and Felicia Simpson.

November 2018 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel IP Inn of Court held its second CLE-approved meeting of this Inn year on November 8, 2018 at The Headliner's Club in Austin.  The program for the meeting, which was organized by our second pupilage team, consisted of presentations regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI) by Dr. Mingyuan Zhou, assistant professor in the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, Stephanie Sivinski of Haynes and Boone LLP in Dallas, and John Casey of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Austin.  Dr. Zhou discussed the technical milestones achieved with machine learning in a timeline discussion as well as what AI is.  Various problems presently being solved by AI technology were discussed as well as future expectations.  Stephanie Sivinski followed with a discussion of legal issues associated with AI-generated content.  Those issues included what is protectable content, ownership issues, venue issues and IP liability issues including infringement liability.  John Casey discussed survey results from an Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) global committee by proposing ten multiple choice AI questions regarding deployment of AI and ethics.  The audience was polled for their responses which were then compared with the responses obtained by IEEE.  The guest speakers were introduced by team members Hong Shi and Aden Allen who briefly set up issues for the guest speaker presentations.  The program concluded with the team leader Joel Boehm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Austin discussing how future public policy decisions will influence how the law must adapt to address new issues created by AI.

From left to right: Roger Williams, Michael Barrett, Janis Clements, Parvin Ghane, Tyson Smith, Shireen Bacon, Mark Rozman, Hong Shi, Rob King, Aden Allen, Joel Boehm, and Nicole Cave.

October 2018 Meeting

The Honorable Lee Yeakel IP Inn of Court held its first meeting of this Inn year on October 18, 2018 at The Headliner's Club in Austin. The program for the meeting, which was organized by our first pupilage team, consisted of a presentation by Christopher J. Tyson, a partner in Duane Morris's Washington D.C. office. Mr. Tyson's presentation, entitled "Emerging Legal Issues and Strategies in Post-Grant Proceedings at the PTAB," focused on several recent developments and trends is the case law, rules, and statutes pertaining to post-grant proceedings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). He discussed the possible explanations for the PTAB's increased use of its discretionary power to deny Inter Partes Review (IPR) petitions. He also outlined the impact of recent decisions from the PTAB and Federal Circuit on topics such as the deadline to file an IPR petition and the claim construction standard in IPR proceedings. He concluded by discussing some emerging strategies for using post-grant proceedings as an offensive tactic, rather than a purely defensive tactic after being sued.

From left to right: Leah Buratti, Kevin Meek, Chris Jacobs, Bert Greene, Mark Garrett, Ikenna Okoro, Chris Tyson (Speaker), and Brett Thompsen

Pro Bono Update

At the October 18 meeting, Pro Bono Committee member Syed Fareed introduced Robert Painter, Director of Pro Bono Programs and Communications for American Gateways. Robert described how American Gateways works to help low-income immigrants, especially asylum-seekers. He explained the many ways all attorneys, including (and especially) intellectual property attorneys, can help by providing advice to American Gateways clients or representing them in immigration proceedings. He also relayed the impactful story of a client from the Central African Republic who faced unbelievably harsh persecution and likely death if forced to return to his country, but who won asylum thanks to the work of a pro bono Gateways attorney. Many Yeakel IP Inn members have worked on Gateways cases in the past, and many more can make an impact after hearing Robert's motivating and helpful message.

Congratulations 2017-2018 Team 4!

The Honorable Lee Yeakel Intellectual Property American Inn of Court received the national Outstanding Program Award for its 2017-2018 program entitled Trollklahoma - A Musical Adventure through the Fast Changing Landscape of Patent Infringement Venue Law. The Program Chair was Nick Schuneman and the team members were Chad Anson, Dave Bahler, Joel Boehm, Jason Boulette, Katharine Lee Carmona, Michele Kim Connors, Anuj Dharia, Sarah Holland, Kat Li, Leanne Loper, Lisa Newman, Elizabeth Collum Ozmun, Hon. Robert L. Pitman, Kenneth Prol, Bill G. Schuurman, Jerry F. Suva, II, David B. Weaver, and Sherri Wilson. A multitude of presentations are submitted from Inns all over the country. It is an honor that one of our programs was selected. The complete list of 2017-2018 Program Award Winners can be found here.