ELLM Alumni Spotlight: Sean Galliher

Sean GalliherWe sat down with January 2016 Executive LLM graduate, Sean Galliher, to learn more about his legal career path and what brought him to the ELLM program. Mr. Galliher is currently the Associate General Counsel at Skechers USA Inc., the three billion dollar performance and lifestyle footwear company based in Manhattan Beach, California.

You’ve worked for the government, in law firms, and now in-house. Can you describe what was behind each of those moves?

After interning to the Counsel to New York Governor Mario Cuomo while in law school, I was offered a full-time position after graduation with the New York State Civil Service Department.  My first boss was a Boston University law graduate who was a phenomenal attorney. After becoming involved with arbitration and mediation while working for New York State, I knew that I wanted to become a trial attorney and eventually moved on to a small trial firm located in Rochester, New York.  While there, I was able to participate in numerous jury trials, argue appeals and get involved in every facet of litigation.  I was involved in personal injury, criminal, and malpractice trials.  I even found myself in a trial involving Amy Fisher and her claim that several prison guards had sexually assaulted her while she was incarcerated at Albion Correctional Facility.  The practice was varied and exciting, but eventually my partner retired and the business was sold to a large personal injury firm and I spent several years consulting with that firm.

I had taken the California bar exam while on vacation one year and had been admitted to practice there in 2001.  After the consulting job ended, a New York law firm hired me in 2006.  I was hired to go to California and work inside Flynt Publications representing Larry Flynt.  This was my first exposure to an actual business environment.  I handled court appearances and motions in the Los Angeles area for his casino and entertainment enterprises.

In order to eliminate the cross-country travel I was doing, and time away from family, I eventually went to work with Skechers USA, Inc. as in-house counsel handling all aspects of the day to day legal business including international law, employment law, insurance and litigation among other issues.

Having such a varied and successful career, what made you decide to go back to school and pursue the Executive LLM?

After many years as a trial lawyer I found myself in a business setting.  Without a solid foundation or background in business, I was forced to learn on the job.  The longer I worked at Skechers and the more their business expanded, the more I began to handle very complex international legal issues.  I felt it would be helpful to get a traditional business education in order to become a more effective attorney in my current role.

Unfortunately, working a full-time job, I thought, made it impossible to get that education.  That is, until I heard about BU’s ELLM program and was very impressed by what I read and heard.  The program was designed in such a way that it allowed me to maintain my busy work schedule and get the formal legal business training I needed to be more efficient in my role as in-house counsel.  The fact that the Law School at Boston University was universally recognized as one of the top law schools in the country only made the program all the more appealing.  I had also worked for and met several attorneys from Boston University* throughout my career and was always impressed by their knowledge and ability.

*On a personal note – I was accepted to go to BU as an undergraduate way back in the early 80’s.  My father had died when I was 7 and my mother had no money. Unfortunately, I was financially unable to go to BU at that time.  I had to go to work and found jobs as a dishwasher and digging ditches in downtown Buffalo.  I married and then joined the Navy and spent the next decade working my way through school and law school, and raising a family.  When this opportunity arose, I was thrilled that after all these years I was able to finally attend and get a degree from BU.  It was very personal for me and I can’t thank you enough for all your help in making it happen.

Now that you’ve finished the Executive LLM, what have you learned or improved on that you find particularly useful at work? Were there any classes or professors that ended up really touching on something you’re facing in the office?

This question is very difficult to answer.  I have found the things that I learned throughout the course of the ELLM constantly coming up in a workplace setting.  For instance, while taking the class in International Mergers and Acquisitions I found myself in the middle of an acquisition of several companies and distributors in South America and Central America.  The very issues we were discussing on a daily basis were suddenly issues I was dealing with professionally.  Professor Sullivan was incredibly knowledgeable and I also relied on the training I received from Professors Wilson, Greiman, Cormier, and Campbell while dealing with different aspects of the deal. The confidence I had, based on the training I was receiving was invaluable in successfully completing the multi-million dollar deal I was involved in.

While in the ELLM program, I was also consulted on an international arbitration situation that involved Skechers, a Russian company and an arbitration in Switzerland.  While studying with Professor O’Neil I took an examination in class and was admitted to the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in London.  This training allowed me to react accordingly and give sound advice, which helped my company navigate a difficult legal situation.

It would be impossible to single out a specific professor, as they were all incredibly knowledgeable.  In the courses I took while at BU Law, it seemed that every single professor was an expert in their field who had practiced in the area of their expertise.  That kind of background allowed them to impart theoretical training, which was important, but they also were able to teach the application of the material in the real world.  This proved invaluable to me after completing the program.

I think that for any attorney who thinks that they may end up doing international business work, and wants a program that will help them professionally from day one, this program should be the top program for them to consider.  The staff and the people running this program are first rate and they constantly strive to make your time at the university, and the time studying at home, productive and useful.  They consistently work to put you in a position to succeed.  Ian and Zachary were incredibly helpful and instrumental in making the ELLM program the first-rate experience that it is.  This is a program that actually will pay immediate dividends in your professional practice.

What are some of the new challenges and legal issues you’re seeing in your practice areas?

Most of the new challenges that I face revolve around the many international areas that Skechers is entering, or doing business in.  I have dealt with legal issues from Europe to Asia to South America.  Each time a problem arises in a different country, it poses legal issues, communication and cultural issues that you have to learn and react to.  The BU ELLM has been invaluable in helping me to properly approach these problems.  My experience at BU has made me a better attorney and equipped me with skills and resources I have found useful in navigating the challenges posed by the evolving world economy.

Professionally speaking, where do you see yourself five years from now?

I work for a corporation with a wonderful group of people that does business all over the world.  My office is located at the beach in Southern California with a view of the Pacific Ocean.  The job I currently have is both challenging and rewarding.  Hopefully, five years from now I am right here.

Last question, what’s your favorite legal movie and why?

Like most attorneys my age or older “To Kill a Mockingbird” is my favorite legal movie.  I remember watching it and wanting to emulate Atticus Finch (didn’t everybody?).  Made me think being a lawyer would be a great job.

Changes to ELLM Degree Requirements: Program Can Now Be Completed Blended or Entirely Online!

online-certificates-252x252Since 2011, the Executive LL.M. Program has established itself as an innovative program, designed to provide the academic rigor expected of a Boston University LL.M. degree, while also offering the flexibility necessary for domestic and international practitioners to undertake part-time studies.

Over the past five years, we have added two online certificate programs (the Certificate in International Business Law and Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance), as well  as three online concentrations (in International Taxation, International Environmental and Energy Law, and Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance). The breadth of the ELLM curriculum has greatly increased over that time, including popular new blended and all-online offerings such as Deals: The Legal Engineering Behind Corporate Transactions; Transnational Legal Practice;  Global Compliance: Introduction and Best Practices; and Global Cyber Law and Governance.

Recently, the Law faculty approved a proposal that would expand the flexibility of the program even further, by removing the ‘residential’ requirement. Currently, the Executive LL.M. Program requires completion of 20 credits in ELLM or ELLM-approved courses, including completion of International Business Transactions and Agreements; U.S. Corporate Law for the International Lawyer (unless waived); U.S. Contract Law for the International Lawyer (unless waived); and 14 credits of residential (blended) courses, consisting of four 3-credit courses and two 1-credit Colloquia in Issues in International Business Law. Typically, students completed two residential sessions, in Boston or Budapest, in order to complete these requirements. Under the current proposal, which is pending official University approval, the ELLM degree requirements would be as follows:

  • completion of 20 ELLM or ELLM-approved courses
  • completion of International Business Transactions and Agreements (3 credits)
  • completion of U.S. Contract Law for the International Lawyer (3 credits), unless waived
  • completion of U.S. Corporate Law for the International Lawyer (3 credits), unless waived

As ELLM courses will continue to be offered in blended and all-online formats, students can therefore complete the program entirely through blended courses, entirely online, or through a mixture of the two. We will continue to offer two or more residential sessions per year (Summer Boston and Summer Budapest, in addition to occasionally offering Spring Boston and/or Fall Boston sessions). The Colloquia will be optional and will still count for credit, and will be offered in every residential session in which minimum registration numbers are met. To assist students in fulfilling the degree requirements via online courses, International Business Transactions and Agreements will continue to be offered in both blended and all-online format. In addition, U.S. Contract Law and U.S. Corporate Law will be offered in alternate years in both blended and all-online format. Additional all-online offerings will be added, including an online version of the Colloquia series, and a 1-credit course in Introduction to the American Legal System (designed for foreign-trained and non-lawyers).

These changes will allow students to have the best of both worlds: the blended format so popular with our students will remain, while removal of the residential requirement will enhance flexibility and better allow students to take the courses most useful to them, in the format and at the time most advantageous to them. It is anticipated that final University approval will be granted in mid-spring 2017.

ELLM Alumni Spotlight: Limei Mo

图片1_1Limei Mo graduated from the Executive LLM program in September 2015. After graduation, she accepted an offer from BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world. Limei is currently the Head of Legal, Compliance and Risk for BlackRock in China.

In this new role, Limei will provide legal, compliance and risk oversight to the asset manager’s business in China. She also acts as a key stakeholder to participate in the regulatory development of China’s asset management industry, and in particular in its gradual opening up to foreign asset managers. 

Talking about her recent career move, Limei explained that although she has substantial knowledge and experience with Chinese financial institutions and China’s regulatory evolution, the ELLM program played a vital part in her gaining the qualifications and competencies needed to join the giant asset manager.

Limei explains, “the ELLM program gave me the ability to explore and understand issues both from a Chinese perspective and an international perspective. The program also enabled me to overcome the communication gaps I had with colleagues from all over the globe, and to function effectively as the bridge between China and western countries.”

Although Limei, as a Chinese national, often felt uneasy and even embarrassed by the multiple high-profile cases in compliance class that originated out of China, what she learned from the course eventually gave her a solid understanding of the FCPA regime and the SEC and DOJ’s rationale behind the enforcement actions. Such take-aways will undoubtedly give her the ability to develop a strong compliance program in the organization and put her in a better position to negotiate anti-bribery and corruption clauses with the local vendors and distributors.

When asked which course she thinks was the most useful to her work, Limei responded that all the courses are relevant to her job one way or another, including U.S. and Trans-border Securities Regulation, U.S. Corporate Law for the International Lawyer, and U.S. and International Intellectual Property Law.

While Limei was very impressed by the courses she attended and the professors she got to know during the program, Limei specifically mentioned Professor Pettit’s course, U.S. Contract Law for the International Lawyer. The case method used in the course, covering 40 contract cases highlighting fundamental principles in common law contracts, was a new experience for Limei compared to her LLB studies in China, which is much closer to a civil law system.  The way professor Pettit articulates and induces the student to explore the issues is something that Limei had never experienced in her LLB studies. The solid foundation and in-depth understanding of the basic legal principles will help Limei better negotiate contracts with her counterparts as well as allow her to better translate certain terms in common law contracts into a civil law context.

Limei at the 2016 BU Law Graduation ceremony.

Limei at the 2016 BU Law Graduation ceremony.

When talking about of the new challenges of her position, Limei commented that BlackRock is a very fast moving company. In fact, one senior executive who has been with the firm for many years shared with Limei her own experience–namely that she felt as if she was working in a new firm every three years. The big jump from banking to the asset management industry, coupled with fast regulatory changes in a performance-driven firm, Limei found herself swamped with numerous e-mails, meetings, and very long memos and legal documentation. Her biggest hope – in addition to settling down into the new environment – is to resume her normal life and go to three yoga classes every week.

Professor Greiman Chats about Cyberspace and Law

Professor Greiman sharing her views with the Boston Globe on choosing a master developer for a proposed mega-project in the South Boston/South End area.

This fall Professor Virginia Greiman will be leading the inaugural class of her new course, Global Cyber Law and Governance. We are pleased to offer this strategic and innovative new offering to the ELLM curriculum due to the wide-ranging legal issues involving cyberspace, which we believe are of vital and practical importance to the practitioners in our program. Given the topic, as well as Professor Greiman’s well-deserved reputation as a first-rate instructor and subject matter expert, we are confident it will prove to be a popular new offering! This course will also count towards the Certificate and the Concentration in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance.

Professor Greiman offers the following remarks on why cyber law is so important today and what she hopes to accomplish with her new course:

The rapidly changing global cyber environment is raising questions for lawyers, policymakers, consumers, national security specialists, private sector businesses and the international community about how we manage and govern this new domain of cyberspace.   The sheer number of users of the Internet has grown to over 3.2 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach 4.7 billion by 2025, including rapid expansion in the developing world.  As widely noted in the media and literature, this requires a focus on predictability, stability and security in the governance of cyberspace.

Global Cyber Law and Governance is a unique course in that it covers a broad range of issues that impact people and organizations worldwide on a daily basis. Cyberspace operates in a dynamic paradigm. Control over national security, criminal conduct, critical infrastructures, global financial services, competitive strategy, medical records, trade and development, intellectual property, privacy and a host of other important rights and responsibilities are governed by a paradigm that is conducted in the virtual world. The course explores the unique characteristics of cyberspace and the existing legal concepts and doctrines for national intelligence, intellectual property protection, and privacy. Additionally, we will examine the conceptual legal structure for balancing the triumvirate of national security, cyber competitiveness, and civil liberties.

Cyber-attacks on the Bangladesh banking system, the Estonian government, the United States Office of Personnel Management, the JP Morgan and Chase data breaches, and corporate espionage (including Operation Aroura and the cyber attacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment) will be discussed and analyzed from the perspective of the legal and regulatory environment and the important lessons learned.

The paradox of national intelligence, cyber competitiveness, and privacy raises vital questions of policy and doctrine as to the troubling problems of attribution, legal borders, forensic capabilities, and self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.  A global legal framework that balances national, corporate and private interests will be examined to find solutions to improving legal certainty in the global marketplace.

This course is essential for every lawyer whether the focus of their practice is corporate, torts, contract law, or civil or criminal litigation.  Cyber law permeates every aspect of our daily lives and influences social change, the global markets, consumer regulation in cyber space, criminal activity and protection of intellectual property, and trade secrets across borders.  NATO has recognized the importance of the growing concern over cyber threats as has almost every government and military organization in the world.  This course will focus on the best practices and norms in cyber law adopted by industries and governments worldwide.  Today’s lawyers must be prepared to assist their clients in developing and implementing these best practices and governance structures for privacy and data protection to build a stronger, safer and more secure cyber environment for all.

~ Professor Greiman

Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance Now Official!

Last week the Executive LL.M. office received official ABA acquiescence in our newest offering, the Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance, or ‘CERMC’ for short. Our second online certificate, following the Certificate in International Business Law (CIBL) launched in April 2016, the Certificate provides another flexible offering to Boston University School of Law graduate students. The CERMC has already attracted a gratifying level of interest and applications, and is both a logical as well as attractive addition to the ELLM portfolio, providing another flexible and marketable credential to meet the professional needs of global practitioners. “The certificate represents the perfect marriage between the School of Law and Metropolitan College’s subject matter expertise, and meets a market need in this fast-growing and dynamic field that has become of increasing relevance to practitioners in every jurisdiction,” says Ian C. Pilarczyk, director of BU Law’s Executive LLM in International Business Law program. “The courses provide real-world, practical knowledge delivered in a format that enhances students’ ability to incorporate study into their professional lives, while also providing a valued professional credential that may enhance their professional standing.”

Similar in content and structure to our Concentration in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance, the CERMC is a collaborative effort between the School of Law and the MET College at Boston University, leveraging subject matter experts from both colleges in this dynamic and expanding field. The Certificate consists of four courses of three credits each (for a total of twelve credits), to be taken from the following basket:

  • Enterprise Risk Management (LAW, 7 week intensive course)
  • Enterprise Risk Planning and Compliance (LAW, 7 week intensive course)
  • Enterprise Risk Analytics (LAW, 7 week intensive course)
  • Global Compliance: Introduction and Best Practices (LAW, 14 week course)
  • Global Cyber Law and Governance (LAW, 14 week course)
  • Directed Study in Compliance (LAW, 14 week course)

There are no formal requirements or prerequisites for completion of the CERMC, although all courses must be completed with an overall CGPA of 3.o (‘B’) and with no grades below a ‘C’. Recipients of the CERMC may apply the 12 credits towards equivalent advanced standing in the ELLM. Candidates without extensive work experience, who are otherwise academically qualified, may be considered for the CERMC and upon successful completion of the Certificate may be accepted into the ELLM program. All ELLM or non-degree students may also complete any of these courses individually, as desired.

In addition to the two certificates and the Concentration in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance, the ELLM program also offers two other concentrations, in International Environmental and Energy Law, and International Taxation.

Applications for these certificates and the ELLM program are accepted year-round, and we offer multiple starting points for enrollment throughout the year. For more information on the CERMC or how to apply, you may visit our website, read our press release, or of course contact our office directly at execllm@bu.edu. We are also happy to schedule an informational webinar at your convenience to discuss the ELLM or our certificate programs.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Fourth Annual Budapest Session Concluded

June 2016 marked the 4th Budapest Session of the Executive LL.M. in International Business Law program, with eight students attending studying alongside their colleagues from ELTE Law School (Budapest) and Lazarski University (Warsaw). The courses offered were Contract Law for International Lawyers by Professor Mark Pettit, and U.S. and International Intellectual Property by Professor Stacey Dogan.

Prof. Mark Pettit during a break from his course.

Prof. Mark Pettit during a break from his course.

A central feature of our residential sessions in Boston and Budapest is the Current Issues in International Business Law colloquium series, featuring an array of subject matter experts speaking on a broad range of topics. Some highlights from this year’s residency:

Maté Borbas, a partner in SBGK law firm which has represented the owner of the rights to Rubik’s Cube (invented by a Hungarian) for 30 years. Dr. Borbas discussed the continuous patent and trademark infringement litigation involving the Cube since the 1980s in Europe, the United States, and Asia. Maté’s firm is awaiting a decision by the European Court of Justice on one of its major Cube cases. The original patent has long expired, but trademark issues remain, as does the issue of infringement of the copyright that protects Emö Rubik’s work.

Péter Szabo, partner, Bán, S Szabo & Partners, is secretary of the Hungarian Bar and a member of the Hungarian delegation to the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE). He discussed the activities allowed to foreign lawyers in Hungary and the changes in the Hungarian legal profession since the fall of Communism. Before Communism collapsed in Hungary there were 2,000 lawyers, but within a few years that had grown sixfold, mainly due to influx from the U.S. and U.K. A major issue for the practice of law in the European Union is the development of uniform rules that regulate non-EU lawyers. The CCBE has been in the forefront of that effort but, as Péter noted, a solution has thus far eluded the EU.

Laurent Niddam, an Attorney at Law in private practice in Budapest and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, spoke of the ‘rationality of irrationality’ as a concept in arbitration specifically, and in legal practice in general. In short, this refers to examining the internal logic (or ‘interests’, as it is often spoken of in ADR) of individuals or groups whose acts seem on their face to be irrational. Likewise, it is important for legal practitioners to excavate the interests or underlying motives when party to a negotiation or commercial discussions.

Laurent Niddam

Laurent Niddam

 David S. Dederick, Managing Partner at Well, Gotsha and Manges, has been involved in international M&A and private equity transactions in Hungary since the early years of Hungary’s transition to a free market economy. He shared his two decades’ experience in this field, which intersected with the period during which Hungary was the premier destination for investment in Central and East Europe (CEE) which he said he continued to find greatly rewarding largely because it is “very exciting to witness the evolution of a business”, as many private equity transactions in which he was involved (including the priviitization of the Budapest airport, the restructuring of GE Hungary, the sale of Euromedic) reflected tremendous asset growth. One issue he flagged that was raised by the current uncertainty triggered by the “Brexit”— U.K.’s exit from the EU — is whether the primacy of U.K. law in commercial transactions in Central and Eastern Europe would not be supplanted by U.S. or other law.

Orsolya Gorgenyi

Orsolya Gorgenyi

Orsolya Gorgenyi, Partner at Scezskay Attorneys at Law and President of the International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA), gave a talk entitled “When ‘Yes Yes’ Might Mean ‘No No'”, focusing on culturally-related factors that could adversely impact the success of international negotiations with Asian partners. As an example, she pointed to the Chinese saying that “it is not about ‘knowhow’, it is about ‘knowwho'”, reflecting the importance placed on personal relationships in business.

Read More »

Coming this fall: Global Compliance

Sidd PattanayakBy Sidd Pattanayak:

I’m excited to be teaching Global Compliance: Introduction and Best Practices this fall, mainly as the topic is not only timely for lawyers and their clients, but also for the general public.

Just take a look at the home pages of newspapers such as the New York Times, Le Monde and the South China Morning Post, and you’ll see daily articles about corruption investigations involving senior governmental officials and multinational companies, money laundering cases involving prominent banks, sanctions changes and violations, data privacy breaches, and other compliance-related scandals.

You don’t have to represent a large multinational conglomerate to know that compliance issues affect everyone in this era of globalization.   An American company that uses third party international distributors has to be mindful of FCPA/UK Bribery Act exposure.  A Chinese conglomerate acquiring a European chemical company has to consider the impact of EU antitrust review.   A website operated in Australia has to consider whether they are adequately protecting their users’ data not only in their home country, but users in faraway continents.

Those are just a few examples of how compliance affects almost everyone around the world.  Of course, it is impossible to become an expert on literally hundreds of thousands of compliance laws in jurisdictions from Albania to Zaire.   The key is to have a consistent, holistic approach to dealing with compliance issues, big and small.

That is the primary focus of this course – how lawyers and their clients can find an approach or “best practice” with respect to these issues.  We will do a general survey of some of the key “alphabet soup” statutes – FCPA, UK Bribery Act, OFAC, and other prominent laws.  Then we’ll look at some case studies of prominent companies and other organizations, including Google, HSBC, Wal-Mart and others, and take away learnings that students can use in their field of practice, enhancing their professional skills while adding value to their employers.

Students will be evaluated primarily on their approach to hypotheticals – whether it’s how to set forth guidelines for local salespersons regarding FCPA compliance, preparing a memo for a client’s CEO about senior management liability, or how simply to respond to their client’s chief financial officer, who wants to set aside a reserve for potential regulatory violations.

I look forward to a robust discussion among students on the discussion boards about what they think a “best practice” is, based on their own personal experiences (good and bad).  Sharing of these experiences, along with the other elements in the course, will help students craft their own best practice approaches for tackling global compliance issues in the best manner possible. 

Professor Pattanayak’s course, Global Compliance: Introduction and Best Practices, is offered in the all-online format this fall 2016. The course is an elective in the Executive LLM curriculum and is a core course in both the Concentration in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance as well as the Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance.

The ‘rationality of the irrational’

P1030548This summer’s Executive LL.M. Budapest session kicked-off this week. Friday’s colloquium speaker was Laurent Niddam, Attorney at Law and a Fellow in the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

The topic was the ‘rationality of the irrational’ –specifically, the importance to legal practitioners in excavating the underlying motives or internal logic (often referred to as ‘interests’ In ADR) of others when their actions appear irrational on the surface. As some audience members pointed out, this topic may be particularly timely given the backdrop of the Brexit vote in the U.K.

ELLM Alumni Spotlight: Fernando Barros

2015-06c (2)Connect with Fernando via LinkedIn.

Fernando Barros is a recent graduate of the Executive LLM program. He also recently accepted a transfer to the U.S. as an expansion in his role as the head of the Latin American Legal Department at Hitachi Data Systems, an American company. In his new position, in addition to overseeing all of Hitachi’s legal matters in Latin America, Fernando now also works closely with the company’s U.S.-based negotiation team.

In a nod to the ELLM, Fernando explained that, “the ELLM was definitely a factor in the expansion of my role. It demonstrated to my boss that I was motivated to further myself professionally and that I could handle additional responsibilities.”

A six-year employee of Hitachi, Fernando’s transfer prompted him to uproot his life six months ago, moving from the mega-city of Sao Paulo to the suburbs of mountainous Denver, Colorado. In his new role, Fernando is getting involved in the intricacies of contract negotiation in the U.S, understanding how it is approached in common law, in contrast with approaches typical in civil law.

Fernando credits Professor Pettit’s course on Contract Law with giving him a firm basis for understanding and negotiating the Hitachi contracts that he now deals with as well as allowing him to better translate what certain terms in common law contracts mean for civil law jurisdictions. Other courses that Fernando found particularly useful were IP Law and Compliance Law. Because Hitachi is an IT company, Fernando runs into IP issues all the time, and having a foundation in the U.S. jurisprudence on things like trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets has reduced the learning curve in his new position. Fernando is also confronted with developing compliance measures within his company, so having a firm understanding of the existing compliance benchmarks is critical in both upholding the company’s policies and in advocating in favor of ethical behavior.

In addition to his expanded professional responsibilities, Fernando is also adjusting to American culture both in and outside of the workplace. Fernando noted that for a Brazilian used to a city that is constantly alive and bustling, the quiet of American suburban life takes some adjusting to. Also, he finds it interesting how his American colleagues eat by themselves at their desks for lunch, while in Brazil and all around Latin America he and his co-workers would always go out to lunch together. It certainly sounds like Denver could use a couple more Brazilians! He is also learning to live in a place where it snows. Surprisingly, he doesn’t mind shoveling on occasion. And in addition to his favorite beer, Sam Adams, he is now also a fan of Colorado Native.

We wish Fernando all the best in his new position and city.

Professor Stacey Dogan Talks Patents, Compulsory Licenses, and Geopolitics with the Executive LLM

s-dogan

BU Law’s ELLM program was pleased to welcome Professor Stacey Dogan as our first colloquium speaker for 2016. On March 7th Professor Dogan, who teaches Intellectual Property in the JD and ELLM programs, gave a brief introduction on patent law and then focused the discussion on the legal and geopolitical impact of Article 31 of the TRIPS agreement, which allows countries to grant compulsory patent licenses in certain circumstances. The colloquium series, a central component of the ELLM program, features subject matter experts who address a wide range of areas broadly related to international business law.

The TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) is a major international treaty on intellectual property law. TRIPS signatories – which include most countries in the industrialized and developing world – promise to provide baseline levels of IP protection, and to grant citizens of other signatories the same rights as their own citizens.  They also agree to provide effective enforcement of IP rights. While TRIPS went into effect in 1995, developing and least developed countries had a phase-in period to comply with its provisions, especially with respect to patent law. As a result, Article 31 is only now beginning to be tested, as governments have only recently begun to grant compulsory licenses pursuant to its terms.

Professor Dogan and the ELLM students discussed the impact of TRIPS among developing and developed nations and the legal requirements that Article 31 established for implementing compulsory licenses. The class discussed the ongoing tension between countries seeking to use the flexibilities built into TRIPS, on the one hand, and pharmaceutical firms in the US, Europe, and Japan, who have pushed for stronger patent rights and limits on compulsory licensing. Professor Dogan also discussed the US Trade Representative’s use of its Special 301 reports to pressure governments to enhance and enforce IP rights, and the increased push for “TRIPS-plus” treaties that bind signatories to amend their IP laws in ways that exceed the requirements of TRIPS.

As the U.S. and Europe continue to enter into TRIPS-plus agreements, and as TRIPS signatories continue to develop compulsory licensing laws under Article 31, this area of the law will continue to develop dynamically. Professor Dogan will be teaching US and International Intellectual Property Law this summer in the ELLM’s blended-online session in Budapest. For more information on Professor Dogan’s course and other ELLM course offerings, please see the ELLM Curriculum.

Dogan

Professor Dogan guest lecturing in the Executive LLM International Business Law colloquium series.

Professor Dogan is a leading scholar in intellectual property and competition law.

Her recent articles explore cutting-edge topics in trademark, copyright, and right of publicity law, including questions of intermediary liability, the rights of trademark parodists, and evolving norms underlying trademark law. 

 

Professor Dogan’s SSRN Author Page and Google Scholar Page.