Good day yesterday, except for the ‘being sick’ part

Folks I got to learn from yesterday:

  • Michael Koskoff,  trial lawyer and main character in the book Damages, which we’ve been using in my Torts class. He came to speak in said Torts class. Was interesting- clearly this is a man who likes his job (‘I’m like Robin Hood- I steal from the rich and give 2/3rds to the poor’) and really, really dislikes doctors. Seems to think that the medical insurance/health care system is broken, but like democracy, less broken than all the other options. Takeaway: glad I won’t become an ambulance chaser, and more certain that the system needs fixing.
  • Giuliano Amato, former prime minister of Italy and expert in EU competition law (aka antitrust law for Americans). Got to listen to him talk about EU competition law for two days, during lunch. Was really good, but should have been longer- a week of seminars would have let him get far deeper into the meat of the issues which he only barely skimmed in two days. Big takeaway: EU antitrust law does not formally have an ‘efficiency’ defense, and often puts the burden of proof on the defendant, which seems to explain a large chunk of why MS has been less success there than here.
  • Alvin Schall, Judge on the Federal Circuit (aka the US’s patent court). Interesting two-hour talk covering the working of the court (nutshell: clerks do a surprising (to me) amount of the work), the Supreme Court’s recent interest in patent cases (nutshell: he thinks that most of it is because of the increased interest in patents generally, not any new level of scrutiny of his course), and some career advice. Good seminar that I’m glad I went to. No particularly important takeaways, except that it sounds like working in the Federal Circuit as a clerk would be interesting.

Headcolds I got yesterday:

  • a nasty one. Thankfully I was ahead in my reading before I collapsed a little after 9 last night.

3 thoughts on “Good day yesterday, except for the ‘being sick’ part”

  1. Any secretary of a major government always has better things to do than talk to us, I’m sure :) He is staying in New York for a few more days, though- he is speaking on the EU Constitution tomorrow. I do hope he gets to retire and teach some day- he’d be very good at it.

  2. You’d enjoy clerking, Luis, and I imagine the Federal Circuit would be as or more fun than lots of other courts. Interestingly, Judge Gajarsa from the Federal Circuit visited us here yesterday and made some of the same points you heard from Judge Schall. But I’m skeptical of both of them when they say that the Supreme Court is just much more interested in patents these days. The answer to that, I think, is that part of the reason they’re so interested is that the Federal Circuit keeps coming up with unique rules and procedures that apply only in patent cases and nowhere else, and the Supreme Court thinks (probably correctly) that it needs to step in to keep patent law from becoming too much of an island unto itself, unconnected to the broader corpus juris. Last Term’s eBay case on the Federal Circuit’s bizarre standard for injunctive relief (outside patent law: very hard to get; in patent cases: automatically granted) was just the most egregious example, but there are others. Hope you’re enjoying school.

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