AU Washington College of Law
November 5, 2009


PANEL 1 – Strengthening IP Enforcement Through TRIPS and Other Multilateral Initiatives

Many countries and IP-owning industries that championed the TRIPS Agreement in the 1990s are now unsatisfied with their ability to enforce IP rights.  They argue that new technologies have led to new types of copyright infringement that necessitate new norms for enforcement, and point out that infringement of copyrights, patents and trademarks is still widespread.  A WTO Panel recently issued what is largely regarded as a split decision in a dispute brought against China by the United States that alleged inadequate enforcement of IP.  With the goal of setting new international norms for tougher enforcement, IP-owning industries and developed-country governments have begun negotiating tougher intellectual property norms in a number of fora. The largest enforcement negotiation is the Anticounterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), but there are additional international efforts as well (through the World Health Organization, World Customs Organization, APEC, etc).  Critics of the push for stronger IP have complained that the negotiations have been overly secretive, and that it risks upsetting the TRIPS Agreement’s balance between the protection of IP-owners’ and IP-users’ rights.

Moderator: Padideh Ala’i, Professor of Law & Acting Director, International Legal Studies Program at American University Washington College of Law


  • Daniel Gervais, Professor of Law & Co-Director, Technology and Entertainment Law Program, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Peter Yu, Kern Family Chair in Intellectual Property Law & Director, Intellectual Property Law Center, Drake University Law School
  • Michael Geist, Professor of Law & Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law

PANEL 2 – American Efforts to Strengthen International IP Enforcement

The US government works multilaterally to strengthen worldwide enforcement of IP norms in the fora discussed in panel one. Additionally, it acts unilaterally to strengthen enforcement through such mechanisms as the Special 301 process and the review and suspension of GSP benefits.  These unilateral actions are viewed as essential by IP-owning industries, but as heavy handed and arbitrary by our trading partners. Consumer groups worry that such efforts may underestimate negative outcomes that may arise, such as the costs associated with enhanced border protections and stiff penalties for individual users.

Moderator: Susan Sell, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs & Director, Institute for Global and International Studies, George Washington University


  • Stanford McCoy, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation
  • Sean Flynn, Associated Director, PIJIP, American Univeristy Washington College of Law
  • Eric Smith, President and Co-Founder, International Intellectual Property Alliance
  • Gigi Sohn, President and Co-Founder, Public Knowledge
  • Joe Karaganis, Program Director, Media, Technology and Culture, Social Science Research Council