Spring 2013 Symposium: Intellectual Property and Religious Thought

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2013 Spring Symposium - Intellectual Property and Religious Thought

Date & Time:

Friday, April 5, 2013
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM


Free and Open to the Public.


University of St. Thomas School of Law

Schulze Grand Atrium


Approved for 5.0 Standard Continuing Legal Education credits (event code: 177921)  

This ground-breaking conference will bring together legal scholars, bioethicists, religion scholars, and theologians from diverse traditions for an interdisciplinary discussion of intellectual property and how religious themes, practices, and communities inform and shape its law and policy.

Should life be owned? How does the right to life intersect with investors' rights to profit from life-saving products? How should the law respond when genetically modified plants cross-fertilize with heirloom crops cultivated by subsistence farmers? Does a patent-holder's ownership of a reproducing GMO extend to all that organism's descendants?

The long, rich, diverse traditions of religious thought concerning property rights and obligations have only begun to be applied to these questions. The University of St. Thomas Law Journal and the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy are pleased to convene this symposium of scholars who are defining and developing this exciting new field of interdisciplinary research.

Law Journal Symposium editor: Phil Steger

Symposium faculty advisor: Tom Berg

Thanks for planning assistance to: Professors Ruth Okediji ( University of Minnesota), David Opderbeck (Seton Hall University), and Frank Pasquale (Seton Hall University)

Topics and Speakers


*Paul Griffiths, Warren Professor of Catholic Theology, Duke University Divinity School, "The Natural Right to Property and the Impossibility of Owning the Immaterial: How to Resolve a Tension in Catholic Thought"

Jeremy Stern, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, "Spiritual Property, ‘Intellectual’ Property,’ and a Solution to the Riddle of IP Rights in Jewish Law"


Margo Bagley, Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law, "The Wheat and the (GMO) Tares: Lessons from Plant Patent Litigation and the Parables of Christ"

Audrey Chapman, Joseph M. Healy, Jr. Chair in Medical Humanities and Bioethics, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, "Religious Contributions to the Debate on the Patenting of Life"

Kevin Outterson, Associate Professor of Health Law, Bioethics, and Human Rights, Boston University School of Law, "Jesus' IP"
LUNCHTIME ADDRESS (12:30-1:30 p.m.)

*Roberta Rosenthal Kwall, Raymond P. Niro Professor of Intellectual Property, DePaul University School of Law, “Remember the Sabbath Day and Enhance Your Creativity”

TOPIC #3: IP’S CORE MEANING (1:30-2:35 p.m.)

Bashar Malkawi, Associate Professor of Law, University of Sharjah College of Law, Dubai, ”The Alliance Between Islamic Law and Intellectual Property: Structure and Practice”

Alina Ng, Associate Professor of Law, Mississippi College School of Law, “Finding Copyright’s Core Content”


Marco Fioretti, Founder, Eleutheros, “Catholic Social Thought and the Openness Revolution: Natural Traveling Companions"

Shubha Ghosh, Vilas Research Fellow and Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin School of Law, “Doing One’s Duty: Towards a Stewardship Model of Intellectual Property”

David Opderbeck, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law, “Beyond Bits, Memes, and Utility Machines: A Theology of Intellectual Property as Social Relations”

(* = keynote speakers)

All programs offered by the University of St. Thomas shall be readily accessible to individuals with disabilities. For details, call (651) 962-6315.