October 26, 2020

On October 23, 2020, members of the Catholic Law faculty met over lunch for the second in a series of virtual research presentations. Hosted by Professor Cara H. Drinan, Director of Faculty Research, the presentation featured the scholarship of Catholic Law Professor Elizabeth Winston, Co-Director of the Law and Technology Institute and Associate Professor of Law. Winston has been a faculty member at the Law School since 2006 and writes at the intersection of contracts and intellectual property.

Winston presented her forthcoming article, “Bargaining for Innovation.” The “technology” of focus in her talk was apples—not like the tech company founded by Steve Jobs, but the fruit. While the idea of the food we eat having intellectual property may seem strange, Winston noted that intellectual property and contracts have dramatically expanded their outreach in the last 20 years, including in the apple orchard. In her presentation, Winston outlined the ways in which apples receive the benefits of multiple patent systems and trademark laws. There has also been a marked shift in public versus private ordering. Winston observed that in her paper she’s “using the apple as a lens into a more pervasive problem where contracts are being used across many technologies—including software, fashion, standup comedy, genetic engineering, autonomous cars, and even recipes—to extend the rights granted by public ordering.”

As the discussion drew to a close, Winston shared, “Recognition needs to be taken of the fundamental truth that private ordering protects the successful while public ordering protects us all.” The last of the remaining time was used to address questions and comments from those in attendance.

The Faculty Research Series will be held monthly for the remainder of the year. Please check back on the News and Events page for updates regarding upcoming events.