Season 3, Episode 1: Spark of Genius, The Case for Nationalized Cryptocurrency (Blog Post)

By: Garrett Derian-Toth & Matthew Ritter

Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of discussion, emphasis, and interest in the regulation and adoption of cryptocurrency in some way in the United States government, and in various governments across the world. This is in part because internet-based transactions have amplified the dependency on network communications. In commerce, the need for security and the need to reduce the stress of performing financial transactions through traditional mediums will be essential to ensure that transaction costs are as low as possible. Currently, in the United States, when commercial transactions are made between parties, financial institutions are the middlemen, and behind them is the federal government. The presence of these parties is not baseless, it keeps commerce running smoothly with minimal disruptions. However, as the number of transactions increases and technology develops, financial institutions’ current functions becomes less efficient. Cryptocurrencies may be able to improve the efficiency of internet-based transactions in a number of ways. Cryptocurrency transactions allow a decrease in the transaction costs. Also, there is almost no delay in moving funds and less of a dependency on potentially outdated federal payment systems.

Despite these benefits, many governments have raised significant concerns over broad adoption of cryptocurrency, leading to suspicion of those utilizing the currency and a slower adoption of the cryptocurrency as a valid payment method. These suspicions are not without merit. In fact, the lack of traceability of some cryptocurrency transactions and the use of cryptocurrency as the medium of exchange on black markets does pose a substantial issue if a national cryptocurrency were to be adopted. As of today, in fact, the United States continues to consider cryptocurrency, or virtual currencies as described by the IRS, as a form of property and not a form of legal tender. In short, the United States government does not view cryptocurrencies as currency, but rather as something more similar to securities or stock, which can be exchanged and have some value, but cannot be used as true legal tender. While governments seem slow to adopt this form of currency, private entities have been pushing for both development of their own cryptocurrencies and for less regulation of cryptocurrency in general. The contention of these private entities seems to be that the market efficiency and decreased transaction costs, if coupled with the correct regulation, outweighs the potential negatives of this form of currency.

One potential solution for the concerns of the governments and the desires of the private marketplace would be to institute some form of a national cryptocurrency made by adopting a polycentric approach in which the government and private institutions create and adopt a cryptocurrency backed by the United States Dollar. The idea of developing a national cryptocurrency has been kicked around by a number of countries and has been adopted, and rejected, by some countries. The technical term for this form of cryptocurrency is a central bank-issued digital currency (CBDC). One potential positive for a national cryptocurrency would be that governments could avoid the erosion of lex monetae. The adoption of a national cryptocurrency, along with a preclusion of private cryptocurrency, would enable the United States and other countries with similar agendas to maintain control over the marketplace in the same way they currently do. Furthermore, a federal cryptocurrency would be easier to regulate and track in many ways than its private counterpart would be.

Recent incidents, such as Mark Zuckerberg’s Senate hearing on Libra (Facebook’s cryptocurrency in development with numerous other companies), point towards general skepticism of cryptocurrency by the United States government. While it may not be on the near horizon, companies like Facebook could force the governments’ hand in some way by adopting private cryptocurrencies and driving the market forward by themselves. While the adoption of a national cryptocurrency is only one potential solution to the regulatory issues cryptocurrencies pose to sovereign nations, it may be the best way to both drive the market forward, provide private and financial institutions what they want in regards to marketplace efficiency, and avoid the potential downfalls of unregulated cryptocurrency.

Fire of Genius, Season 3

Season 3, Episode 1: Spark of Genius, The Case for Nationalized Cryptocurrency (Blog Post)

Season 3, Episode 2: Spark of Genius, The Likely Ramifications of Capital One’s Data Breach (Blog Post)

Season 3, Episode 3: Spark of Genius, U.S. Films in China – Reasons for Rampant Copyright Infringement and Proposed Solutions (Blog Post)

Season 3, Episode 4: Spark of Genius, .COM Trademarks – Case May Change How We View Domain Name Trademarks (Blog Post)

Season 3, Episode 5: Spark of Genius, Tiger TrademarKing – How IP Took Down the ‘Tiger King’ (Blog Post)

Artificial Creativity: A Case Against Copyright for AI-Created Visual Artwork

By Megan Svedman

from Volume 9 (2019-2020)

Download this Article in PDF format from The Jerome Hall Law Library’s Digital Repository.

Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly complex, and provides examples of compelling, human-like performances. One such artificial intelligence technology is known as Creative Adversarial Network (“CAN”) technology, which relies on inputs of preexisting pieces of art to create pieces of original art that pass as human-made. Whether the coders responsible for CAN-technology should be granted coverage for the resultant art remains an open question in United States jurisprudence. This paper seeks to explore why, given both software’s historical legacy in copyright law and bedrock copyright justifications, extending copyright coverage to the coders responsible for CAN technology would be a grave misstep in copyright policy.

A Production View on Patent Procurement

By Ian C. Schick

from Volume 9 (2019-2020)

Download this Article in PDF format from The Jerome Hall Law Library’s Digital Repository.

When we think of a “production environment,” a law firm patent practice is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. But why not? Patent practices are highly process-oriented, and they certainly involve “manufacturing” work product, primarily in the form of new patent applications and office action responses. This article discusses how, with a production view on patent procurement, exploiting the principles of lean production can be a compelling way to adapt to tough issues presently roiling the patent ecosystem.


Using AI to Analyze Patent Claim Indefiniteness

by Dean Alderucci and Kevin D. Ashley

from Volume 9 (2019-2020)

Download this Article in PDF format from The Jerome Hall Law Library’s Digital Repository.

We describe how to use artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to partially automate a type of legal analysis, determining whether a patent claim satisfies the definiteness requirement. Although fully automating such a high-level cognitive task is well beyond state-of-the-art AI, we show that AI can nevertheless assist the decision maker in making this determination. Specifically, the use of custom AI technology can aid the decision maker by (1) mining patent text to rapidly bring relevant information to the decision maker’s attention, and (2) suggesting simple inferences that can be drawn from that information.

Internet (Re)Search by Judges, Jurors, and Lawyers

by H. Albert Liou and Jasper L. Tran

from Volume 9 (2019-2020)

Download this Article in PDF format from The Jerome Hall Law Library’s Digital Repository.

How can Internet research be used properly and reliably in law? This paper analyzes several key and very different issues affecting judges, jurors, and lawyers. With respect to judges, this paper discusses the rules of judicial conduct and how they guide the appropriate use of the Internet for research; the standards for judicial notice; and whether judges can consider a third category of non-adversarially presented, non-judicially noticed factual evidence. With respect to jurors, this paper discusses causes of and deterrents to jurors conducting Internet research during trials; and the recourse available to parties who are adversely impacted by such behavior. With respect to lawyers, this paper discusses reliance on and potential pitfalls of using free Internet resources to conduct legal research; the dangers of rotten Internet links; and evidentiary considerations in citing to Internet evidence.

Volume 9

This volume includes scholarship from H. Albert Liou and Jasper L. Tran, who explore how Internet research can be used properly and reliably in law; scholarship from Megan Svedman examining issues with the use of copyrights in the world of artificial intelligence; scholarship from Kevin Ashley and Dean Alderucci, discussing the use of artificial intelligence techniques to partially automate patent claim analysis in regards to the definiteness requirement; and scholarship by Ian Schick discussing how the principles of lean production could be adapted to address issues in the patent ecosystem.


Francesca Campione

Editorial Team

Publishing Editor: Carolyn Griffith
Managing Editors: Keltie Haley & Sachin Patel
Content Editors: Weichih Hsu & Joey Leonard
Audio Editor: Phil Koranteng 

Articles Editors: Garrett Derian-Toth, Payton Hoff, Anis Houssein, Sarah Kelly, Audrey Knutson, Ziyu Ma, Catherine Morgan, Emma Ng, Matthew Ritter, & Rita Xia

Faculty Advisor and Primary Contact: Professor Michael Mattioli
Faculty Advisor: Professor Mark Janis


Internet (Re)Search by Judges, Jurors, and Lawyers” by H. Albert Liou and Jasper L. Tran

Using AI to Analyze Patent Claim Indefiniteness” by
Dean Alderucci and Kevin D. Ashley

A Production View on Patent Procurement” by Ian C. Schick

Artificial Creativity: A Case Against Copyright for AI-Created Visual Artwork” by Megan Svedman

When Standards Collide with Intellectual Property: Teaching About Standard Setting Organizations, Technology, and Microsoft v. Motorola” by Cynthia L. Dahl

Sea Change: The Rising Tide of Pro Bono Legal Services for the Creative Community” by Victoria F. Phillips

Season 2, Episode 5: Helsinn v. Teva and the America Invents Act

Topic: Helsinn v. Teva and the America Invents Act

Guest: Professor Timothy R. Holbrook of Emory University School of Law

Timothy R. Holbrook is Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law at Emory University.  He is an internationally recognized patent law scholar whose work has explored the role of patent disclosures, the territorial limits of U.S. patent law, and the impact that various biotechnologies and additive manufacturing will have on our patent system.

Music written and supplied by Dr. Robert L. Eoff, Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.