IP Society Trip to Nashville
Trip Summary by Michael Morthland, IP Soc’y President 2014-15
On February 20, the SIU School of Law Intellectual Property Society traveled to Nashville, Tennessee for a series of lectures related to Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship. The day consisted of a variety of speakers from the legal world, as well as entrepreneurs from around the Nashville area.
After the group arrived in downtown Nashville at the firm of Waller, Landsen, Dortch & Davis, LLP on a brisk Friday morning, the IP Soc’y heard from Curt Jones, the founder and CEO of Dippin’ Dots. Come to find out, Mr. Jones is also a graduate of SIUC and native of southern Illinois. Mr. Jones regaled us with the story of how he came to invent the favorite ice cream treat of the entire group. Furthermore, Mr. Jones spoke about his run-ins with the patent system, and his fight to fend-off would-be infringers of his invention. Although not a lawyer, Mr. Jones provided valuable insight into his experiences with the judicial system as well as his experiences with a variety of intellectual property attorneys.
Our next speaker was Brad Smith, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Aspire Health. Altough not a lawyer, Mr. Smith but provided wonderful insight on his work with various patent and other intellectual property attorneys while building Aspire Health from the ground up into a multi-state corporation. He suggested that future attorneys be as well rounded as possible—i.e., although IP attorneys that we have a focus in healthcare, etc. These are the types of attorneys Mr. Smith has found to be most invaluable to Aspire’s growth.
Next, the group listened to our host Mr. Nate Bailey another SIU School of Law Alum. In addition to hosting this event, Mr. Bailey gave us a wonderful overview and summary of various subgenres of Intellectual Property work. Mr. Bailey designed the presentation with an emphasis on how to advise small-businesses and start-ups in the intellectual property realm.
A late addition to the speaking group, Mr. Reid Waltz was a welcome reprieve from the complicated subject matter of patent law. Mr. Waltz is currently in-house counsel for SESAC, Inc. (a/k/a the Society of European State Authors and Composers). He spoke on a plethora of issues surrounding the realm of copyright law. Although Mr. Waltz could have spoken for the entire day, we had time for questions surrounding upcoming copyright legislation, artist rights, copyright reform, and an explanation of his role in SESAC’s operations. It was truly a fascinating conversation for the music lovers in the room.
Our last speaker and alum of SIU School of Law, was Mr. David Winters. He made the hour drive from Clarksville in order to speak to us about his book and patent law. Mr. Winters engaged the group in a discussion on the comparisons between “piracy” (yes the eye patch, peg-leg kind) and intellectual property. I cannot ruin the themes of the book itself, but it was a rather entertaining end to an incredibly fascinating event.
After the event at Waller Law, the group went to the world famous Jack’s Barbeque on the world famous Broadway, and ended the night at Mr. Jones’ B.B. King’s right off Broadway for dessert.
Needless to say, this was the first of an annual trip for many years to come assisting SIU School of Law students in learning what it means to be an intellectual property attorney in Nashville, TN.