IP Solutions on the Horizon

Kaitlyn McQuown • March 26, 2024
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Leaders in intellectual property law discussed major landmark cases, changing technology including AI and other developments at the 2024 Intellectual Property Institute, hosted by USC Gould School of Law in March.

The two-day continuing legal education conference was held March 18-19 at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica as well as online for remote attendees.

Featured speakers included keynote presenter Jackie Hayes, EVP, Legal – Studios & Networks at Warner Bros. Discovery, and dozens of academics, IP lawyers, judges and other professionals.

In her keynote presentation, Hayes discussed the legal issues facing the entertainment industry, including AI, consolidation, the new Guild agreements, and making meaningful content in a challenging financial environment.

“We are an IP company first and foremost” she said. “On the one hand, we are constantly creating new IP. As storytellers, that’s part of what we do. But on the other hand, as the owners of one of the largest IP libraries in the world, we have a very vested interest in making sure that people aren’t stealing our stuff. It’s a very interesting place that we sit, because we have to be able to have to live and breathe by two sides of the same blade.”

The first day of the institute began with the return of the Julie H. Yi Diversity Forum Women in IP Workshop. During the three sessions, leading women in the field offered their insights on mentorship, navigating challenges and developing leadership skills.

“Sometimes women have a tendency to not apply for jobs if they don’t think they have the experience and the skills already,” said Shira Perlmutter, Register of Copyrights and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office. “I think it’s really important to trust yourself and to know that you’re able to learn new things and that no one has the perfect resume for any particular job, so always put yourself out there and try.”

The second day of the institute kicked off with insights from judges from across California and an update from the Copyright Office. Judges from the Central and Southern Districts of California shared special insights into advocacy in IP cases and offered advice for the lawyers.

“We can teach them, we can move them along, we can help them become better lawyers,” said Hon. Roger T. Benitez of the U.S. District Court (S.D. Cal.). “We can help lawyers be more civil. Your reputation is very important: you work at it, you work at it, you work at it.”

Throughout the Institute, attendees chose between concurrent breakout sessions exploring copyright, patent and trademark law, including discussions on recent legislation, the possibilities and legal implications of AI, best practices for patent trials, the right of publicity and NIL licensing.

“We have trained the model and using a lot of the same machine learning techniques that power the model to recognize and decline requests that seem to be at odds with what we think copyright laws should allow,” said Fred von Lohmann, Associate General Counsel, Copyright at OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. “I think we will get to a place where if you are a copyright owner, you want to opt your stuff out, you will be able to do that without having to engage a federal court for a multi-year process.”

The event closed with the popular annual session, “The IP Year in Review: Patent, Trademark and Right of Publicity, and Copyright,” presented by professors Shyamkrishna Balganesh (Columbia Law School), John F. Duffy (University of Virginia Law School) and Prof. Mark McKenna (UCLA School of Law), who discussed the most significant cases in each segment of IP law in the past year.

Renowned as the premier gathering of top IP experts, the Intellectual Property Institute stands as a flagship conference hosted by a top rated law school in Southern California. Drawing in a diverse array of industry leaders, both local and international, the event provides a critical platform for navigating the dynamic shifts shaping the intellectual property landscape.

USC Gould School of Law offers continuing legal education opportunities for professionals who want to learn and network with leading experts in their industries. A fixture of the Los Angeles legal community since 1948, USC Gould Continuing Legal Education hosts six annual conferences for professionals at every level to learn from, and network with, the biggest players in entertainment, estate planning, business, tax and intellectual property. To learn more, visit or subscribe at – and follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

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