Legal Hot Spots


Much of the drama of history and life is played out in
legal discussions, in court trials and in the decisions of
various courts. These lectures will provide background
on major legal controversies, the competing arguments
of the parties and the implications of past decisions. We
will also look ahead to decisions and legislation that may
be anticipated in the future.

1. Patent Eligibility: What’s All the Fuss About
101? (John Kong): This class will focus on the latest
industry confusion about patent eligibility, the impact
on patent portfolios and the drive to have the U.S.
Congress change the law. We will briefly touch on
patent history and give examples of the complexity
of issues confounding judges, patent practitioners,
congressional leaders and the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office. We will consider strategies to
improve patent survival and look into the crystal ball
for what the future may hold in this area.

2. Our Privacy and Drone Technology (Jay
Stanley): Drones, a significant new technology, are
poised to expand in American life as the Federal
Aviation Administration moves toward easing currently
strict restrictions on their flight. They raise
significant new privacy issues that we will need to
figure out how to navigate. Most of the legal precedents
around aerial privacy are decades old and
did not anticipate this technology. Are we okay
with having police drones fly high above our communities
constantly recording everybody’s movements
within 30 square miles?

3. Deepfakes and the Law (Matthew Ferraro):
Digitally disseminated disinformation and ‘‘deepfakes’’
pose growing threats to politics, business
and society. Deepfakes, photos, videos, audio and
text manipulated by artificial intelligence have dangerous
implications for individuals, companies, the
proliferation of “fake news” and trust in democracy.
We will address the legal debate around deepfakes
and the prospects for future laws and regulations
at the state and federal levels.

4. Benefits and Costs of International Trade:
Who Wins? (Michael Mass): Few subjects are
as multidisciplinary and complex as international
trade. Although it involves a mix of economics,
business, international relations and politics, it can
best be viewed through the lens of international
and domestic law. This survey will discuss the
theoretical benefits and costs of trading beyond
national borders while examining the available
tools to regulate international trade within the U.S.
and international systems.

5. Litigation Over the Affordable Care Act (Joel
McElvain): The Affordable Care Act was enacted
in 2010 and became the signature domestic policy
achievement of the Obama Administration. In
2017, Congress passed a law that zeroed out the
tax penalty for a failure to maintain health coverage,
a provision commonly (but inaccurately)
known as the “individual mandate.” DOJ has
argued that this provision rendered the whole of
the ACA unconstitutional. This class will look at
the ACA, ongoing litigation concerning the act and
the consequences of the act.

6. Cybersecurity: The Next Frontier (Mary Ellen
Callahan): Internet connectivity touches all of
our lives, from computers and smartphones
to home appliances, particularly as work and
school move online at home. Cybersecurity is
protecting an ecosystem, protecting the entire
environment. We are in a network of networks
and thus the whole world is a network. We will
address legal issues related to cybersecurity,
including the legal framework in a worldwide
environment, actions to protect ourselves and
the next hot cybersecurity topics.

7. Legal and Social Implications of Employee
Benefits Crisis (Joe Semo): Employment-based
health and retirement benefits are failing to meet
their objectives. A public policy review is unavoidable.
Can our tax-incentive based system be
expected to address our economic and social
needs? Should the full faith and credit of the U.S.
back the retirement promises of private employers?
What are the costs of not doing so?

8. The World Trade Organization Challenges
(Matthew Yeo): The U.S. was instrumental in building
the rules-based international trading system in
the aftermath of World War II. President Trump and
some in Congress have threatened to pull the U.S.
out of the World Trade Organization, which administers
international trade agreements and resolves
compliance disputes. This class will survey the law,
politics and economics of international trade.

John Kong, an attorney expert in intellectual property,
concentrates his practice on patent litigation, counseling
and procurement. He has taken lead roles in many
patent infringement cases as well as supportive roles
in trademark infringement cases, representing both
plaintiffs and defendants. He lectures extensively on
corporate patent management practices and patent
prosecution and litigation topics, including specialized
e-commerce and software-related issues. He has prosecuted
hundreds of patent applications for both large
international companies and small inventors.

Jay Stanley is senior policy analyst with the American
Civil Liberty Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology
Project, where he researches, writes and speaks about
technology-related privacy and civil liberties issues and
their future. He writes for and edits the ACLU’s technology
policy blog Free Future. Stanley has authored and
co-authored influential ACLU reports on a variety of topics.
He is a graduate of Williams College and holds an
MA in American History from the University of Virginia.

Matthew Ferraro, an attorney at WilmerHale and former
U.S. intelligence officer, is a term member of the
Council on Foreign Relations and a visiting fellow at the
National Security Institute at George Mason University.
He advises clients on matters related to defense and
national security, cybersecurity and crisis management.
He also conducts internal investigations, assists clients
in dealings before the U.S. Congress and counsels clients
on a range of government contract issues.

Michael Mass is an associate professor of business law
at the Kogod School of Business at American University.
He has decades of experience teaching graduate and
undergraduate business students about legal issues,
while also practicing law in both Virginia and D.C. He is
a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of
Pennsylvania and Georgetown University Law Center.

Joel McElvain is a partner in the healthcare practice of
King & Spaulding. He has over 20 years of experience
as a litigator with the U.S. Department of Justice, having
handled some of the agency’s most complex and challenging
civil matters. A senior career Justice Department
official, he resigned in the wake of the Trump administration’s
move to stop defending a key provision of the
Affordable Care Act.

Mary Ellen Callahan, assistant general counsel for
privacy with The Walt Disney Company, was previously
chair of Jenner & Block’s Privacy and Information
Governance Practice, where she advised clients on matters
at the interface of privacy protection with cyber and
national security. She served as chief privacy officer of
the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from March
2009 to August 2012.

Joe Semo’s private legal practice in Washington,
D.C., provides comprehensive guidance for executive
and corporate compensation, corporate and board
governance and general business transactions. Since
1984, he has been a member and chairman of the
City of Annapolis Police and Fire Retirement Plan
Commission. He is a specialist in the legal aspects of
pension program funding.

Matthew Yeo advises sovereign and non-sovereign
clients in matters arising under the agreements of the
World Trade Organization. He is among the small number
of lawyers in private practice who appear on behalf
of member governments in WTO dispute settlement
proceedings. He has litigated a wide range of issues
relating to the interpretation and application of WTO
agreements and has been involved in all stages of WTO
dispute settlement, including consultations, appearances
before dispute settlement panels and appearances
before the WTO Appellate Body.

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Multiple Instructors 10/1 - 11/19 Th 02:00 PM - 03:30 PM $55.00 View