From May 23rd to 25th 2012 the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Law, Technology and Society (CLTS) hosted more than twenty-five scholars and a number of graduate students from over a dozen Canadian universities and institutions to a workshop entitled the Multidisciplinary Approaches to Intellectual Property Law. The event was organized by Professor Teresa Scassa (Faculty of Common Law), Professor Mistrale Goudreau (Faculty of Civil Law), Madelaine Saginur (Executive Director, CLTS), and Courtney Doagoo (PhD student).
The workshop approached multidisciplinarity in intellectual property, through three subthemes: 1) Theory and Methodology which tackles the various ways in which multidisciplinary research can be conducted in the field of intellectual property, 2) Culture, Communication and IP law, which explores the cause and effect of intellectual property law as it relates to communication and culture, and finally 3) Social Dynamics and IP law which explores the influences of social, political, economic and other dynamics on the shape of intellectual property law and vice versa.
Participants did not originate from intellectual property law academic circles alone. Presenters came from a wide range of disciplines including: information and media studies, English, medicine, art history and communications studies, visual arts, social sciences, humanities, and of course, law. Methodological approaches drew from an equally broad range – from history, translation studies and literature to cybernetics, criminology and political science.
The workshop schedule granted an opportunity for each participant to present their research in roughly ten minutes. Each panel was followed by an hour of open dialogue in the form of commentary, questions, discussion and feedback from the diverse group of distinguished colleagues. The atmosphere was extremely friendly, encouraging and collaborative.
The workshop presentations will form the basis of a peer-reviewed book that will be published in 2013, and that will serve as a foundation text in this area.
The workshop was an enriching experience for all participants, and also provided an opportunity for discussion and exchange which will form the basis of future collaborations and partnerships.
The workshop organizing committee thanks the workshop funders for their support: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the University of Ottawa, and the Law Foundation of Ontario.