Symposium Introduction

June 9, 2012

In early 2012 the North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology and the North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation held a joint symposium, “Anticipating Dissention: When Legal Frameworks, U.S. Commerce and Foreign Markets Intersect.” The symposium represents a historic first collaboration between these two journals and resulted in an absolutely splendid program that focused on businesses which have an international component as well as those that are just now beginning to realize that the global marketplace affects even local business. The interrelationship of the internationalization of business and the fact that much of this business is driven by technology made this collaboration not only possible but necessary. Speakers addressed new problems that have arisen in the area and how governments, international organizations, businesses and lawyers both identify and mitigate or eliminate the problems. The keynote speech was delivered by Nicholas Didow, Jr., who is Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School. Four panels addressed important topics throughout the day; the panels were entitled “International dispute Resolution,” “Disputes Arising from Arbitration Awards Abroad,” “Tensions Produced by Trademark Law Internationally” and “Direct Investment and Franchising in an International Setting.”
This journal and the North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation are each publishing some of the papers from the symposium. The paper included in this issue is from the panel “Disputes Arising from Arbitration Agreements.”
“Trips and Bits: An Essay on Compulsory Licenses, Expropriation and international Arbitration” is by Peter (Bo) Rutledge. Professor Rutledge is Professor of Law at the University of Georgia, where he teaches courses relating to International Litigation, International Arbitration, International Business Transactions, and Civil Procedure. His article explores whether arbitration is a viable alternative to handle disputes between the private sector and indirect appropriation of patent rights by government entities that issue compulsory licenses. The issue is especially acute for countries in the developing world which may use a compulsory license to solve a perceived public health or other issue. While compulsory licenses favor the state, arbitration under a bilateral investment treaty provides incentive to arbitrate. Professor Rutledge posits that arbitration can play a crucial role in resolving international disputes involving intellectual property especially where the dispute is between an investor and a nation-state over the legality of a compulsory license and investors while balancing the values that the intellectual property regimes are designed to protect.
This article highlights the fact that intellectual property plays an increasingly important role in the global economy, but with the acceleration of this importance comes more and more disputes between and among parties from different states and with governments themselves. Valuable intellectual property, whether protected by patent or trademark, may face complex challenges in the international arena. Solutions to some of these problems may require legislative changes. Others may be facilitated by reliance on arbitration to solve problems.