Bagley Co-Authors Major International Patent Law Casebook


University of Virginia law professor Margo Bagley has co-authored "International Patent Law and Policy," the first stand-alone casebook focusing on international patent law since 2002.

August 1, 2013

University of Virginia law professor Margo Bagley has co-authored the first stand-alone casebook focusing on international patent law in more than a decade.

The casebook, "International Patent Law and Policy," by Bagley and co-authors Professor Ruth Okediji of the University of Minnesota Law School and Professor Jay Erstling of the William Mitchell College of Law, arrives as the stakes in patent law are growing.

"Patent law issues are more international and important than ever, yet of the big three IP areas — patents, trademarks and copyrights — patent law is the most territorial," she said. "So in our book, we focus both on the various multilateral treaties that are putting harmonization pressure on countries, as well as on the comparatively different approaches countries take to patentability requirements."

Bagley, who teaches courses on patent law, international and comparative patent law, intellectual property and property, said the casebook also explores policy issues, including access to medicine, biotechnology and morality, examination redundancy, and the differing roles and effects of patents in developed and developing economies.

"We examine how policy considerations pervade patent law and are at the root of the varying patent systems we see across jurisdictions, with some countries viewing patents largely as tools to advance various public policies, while others see patents primarily as private-property interests," she said.

Bagley worked in products research and development for Procter & Gamble and was a senior research analyst for the Coca-Cola Co. before obtaining her law degree. As a patent attorney, first with a general practice firm and later with a boutique intellectual property firm, she often worked on projects involving foreign clients, foreign patents, and international patent treaties.

"When I entered the academy, I immediately began developing an international and comparative patent law and policy course, teaching it with my own gathered materials, as there was no casebook available," she said. "Even when a book came out in 2002, I still had to supplement it significantly."

Bagley said she was thrilled when Okediji — who is well-known for her expertise on international intellectual property issues — asked if she would like to write a new comprehensive casebook on international patent law and policy with her and Erstling, a former head of the Patent Cooperation Treaty at the World Intellectual Property Organization in Switzerland.

Bagley's overarching goal, she said, was to write a book "that would be well-organized and provide a real sense of the diversity of perspectives that exist in regards to patent law and policy around the globe, as well as some of the reasons for these differences and why many are not likely to go away any time soon."

She added that she wants the book to "serve as a resource for patent law scholars who tend to focus on U.S. law but want to know more about comparative differences and the structure of the patent system internationally."

Professors who want to teach international patent law but who find the idea of creating their own supplemental materials daunting can apply the casebook to several different types of courses, Bagley said.

"Over the years I have taught international patent law in China, Germany, and Singapore, and at three U.S. law schools — in one-, two-, and three-credit formats, as an exam course and as a paper course," she said. "The materials in this book are diverse, yet compartmentalized in a way that will allow professors to select what they need depending on the type of course they are teaching."

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