Mentor Events

Apr 05

Spring 2013 Law Journal Symposium: Intellectual Property and Religious Thought

Friday, April 5

University of St. Thomas School of Law

Schulze Grand Atrium

The University of St. Thomas will hold a conference titled “Intellectual Property and Religious Thought,” on April 5, 2013, co-sponsored by the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy and The University of St. Thomas Law Journal.  The conference will be held at the University of St. Thomas School of Law building in downtown Minneapolis.

The conference will bring together legal scholars, religious ethicists, religion scholars, and theologians for an interdisciplinary discussion of how religious themes, practices, and communities may inform and shape intellectual property law and policy.  The time is ripe for such a conversation.  The long, rich tradition of religious thought concerning property rights and obligations has only begun to be applied to the problems concerning intellectual property (IP) that are so central to the Information Age.  The foundations for analyzing these issues are deeply contested culturally, as evidenced by the warring slogans “Copying is theft” and “Intellectual property is theft.”  The Catholic Church and other religious bodies have issued brief but non-systematic statements on certain issues, such as biotechnology patents and access to patented medicines or seeds.  Underlying cases such as Bowman v. Monsanto, now before the U.S. Supreme Court, are deep debates about social justice and the ownership of artificially created but naturally replicating things (in that case, patents on seeds)—both matters to which major religions have historically spoken.  The conference and papers from it published in the University of St. Thomas Law Journal will be catalysts for this interdisciplinary conversation.

Keynote/featured speakers confirmed for the conference include (further invitations pending):

  • Roberta Rosenthal Kwall, Raymond P. Niro Professor of Intellectual Property Law, DePaul University College of Law
  • Paul Griffiths, Warren Professor of Catholic Theology, Duke University Divinity School
  • Kevin Outterson, Associate Professor of Health Law, Bioethics, and Human Rights, Boston University School of Law
  • Audrey Chapman, Joseph M. Healy, Jr. Chair in Medical Humanities and Bioethics, University of Connecticut School of Medicine