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THE PEOPLE

Christopher Sprigman

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they then both taught, the conference resulted in a best practices booklet that was adopted by public defenders statewide. Schultz is a clinical intellectual property scholar and activist with a focus on patent reform and a passion for technology. He browses websites that fund innovative projects; visits open community labs, where computer and technology folks share ideas; and experiments with technologies such as 3-D printers. “He’s the guy to pass on a really interesting link and also to know about the hip new bar,” says Murphy. Devoted to ensuring that the world of patents and copyrights is a safe, collaborative space for innovation, Schultz is making an impact. He founded the Patent Busting Project at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit digital rights group. And as co-director of Berkeley’s Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic since 2004, he brought successful lawsuits against “patent trolls”— entities that enforce their patents against alleged infringers often with no intention of manufacturing the product. He joins the Law School as director of the Technology Law and Policy Clinic, which he began while visiting last year. “Most people think of IP as huge corporations with thousands of patents that they enforce on products. But that’s not what I’m focused on,” says Schultz. Partnering with lawyers from

the American Civil Liberties Union, “the him his first computer, an Apple II, when clinic focuses on how new technologies ben- he was in first grade. By middle school, efit society at large and individual citizens, Schultz was programming and chatting especially those without a lot of resources.” in the earliest chat rooms. “It took 25 differClinic student Ava McAlpin ’13 says that ent steps to get into a chat room,” he recalls. Schultz created a comfortable environment “It was only for the geeks.” for students to experiment in their role as Always interested in other perspectives, lawyers. Because she co-chaired the Art he majored in women’s studies at Duke Law Society, he suggested that the society University, opening his world to a range write a comment on legislation regarding of social justice issues. Schultz earned artists’ resale royalty rights, and he helped his bachelor’s degree in 1993, got his JD them organize a star-studded panel discus- from Berkeley Law in 2000, and worked sion with senior people from the US Copy- at a San Francisco law firm litigating patright Office and artist Frank Stella. ent and copyright cases for high-tech cliSchultz’s scholarship explores the strug- ents. “Then I got my first dream job,” he gle to balance IP law with free expression says—staff attorney for EFF—and a chance and access to knowledge and innovation, “to change the world.” particularly regarding new digital technolA combination of factors lured Schultz ogies. He has written extensively about the to NYU. “It doesn’t interest me to be the first-sale doctrine, which permits resale of only person to do what I do, no matter what copyrighted goods without permission of spotlight you get. I like to have colleagues,” the copyright owner. First-sale issues are he says, emphasizing NYU’s strong and rapidly becoming more complex with easy diverse IP and clinical faculties. He is also access to Internet resale markets like eBay excited by what he sees in the Law School’s and Amazon. He is currently co-authoring passionate students, and New York City’s a paper with Aaron Perzanowski of Wayne recent surge in high-tech initiatives. State University that investigates what it Schultz’s partner is Kate Crawford, an means to own a digital object “legally.” award-winning writer, academic, and Along with Samuelson Clinic Co-Direc- composer. She is a principal researcher at tor Jennifer Urban, Schultz invented the the Social Media Collective of Microsoft Defensive Patent License (DPL), a tool for Research New England and senior fellow de-escalating the patent wars. “There are at the Information Law Institute at NYU. a lot of small companies that are open- They are devoted to their one-year-old son, source, that publish their code because Elliott—who likely will have an iPad well they want to be based in a community of before first grade. J.F. people who make and share technology.” Patent trolls prey upon them, he says, and none can afford to defend itself. The DPL late-breaking news “offers them a way to band together, to create a circle-the-wagons approach.” He and Urban laid out their plan in professor of law “Protecting Open Innovation: The DefenIn June, Dean Trevor sive Patent License as a New Approach Morrison announced to Patent Threats, Transaction Costs, and the hire of Christopher Tactical Disarmament” (Harvard Journal of Spr ig ma n f rom t he Law and Technology, Fall 2012). DPL users University of Virginia pledge to make their patents available to School of Law. everyone in the DPL network for free and Sprigman teaches copyright law, intelrefrain from suing network members for lectual property law, antitrust law, and any reason other than defense. “It creates competition policy. His research focuses a shield, a collective defense against pat- on how legal rules affect innovation and ent threats that allows them to patent for the deployment of new technologies. His good,” he says. Even Google has shown an widely cited works have had an influence interest in joining the DPL network. on important aspects of copyright law, and “Jason and Jen’s work on the DPL and often belie the conventional wisdom about similar ideas have catalyzed a conversation intellectual property rights. in the community about what companies Sprigman’s eclectic résumé includes can do themselves to stop the patent mad- clerkships both in the US and in South ness,” says Colleen Chien of Santa Clara Africa, practice at US law firms, and pubLaw. “The impact could be huge.” lic service, notably as appellate counsel Schultz grew up in Berkeley, the younger from 1999 to 2001 in the Antitrust Division son of an elementary school teacher, Hilary, of the US Department of Justice, where and a cardiologist, Clifford. His dad bought US v. Microsoft was among his cases.

NYU Law Magazine 2013  
NYU Law Magazine 2013  

The annual magazine from NYU School of Law.