Erin Shinneman ’11, a first-year associate in the commercial litigation group at Chadbourne & Parke, placed second in the 18th annual Judge John R. Brown Scholarship Foundation’s Brown Award for Excellence in Legal Writing Competition. The Foundation received nearly 100 applications from law schools in every state for this writing competition.
The prize was awarded to Shinneman for her note, “Owning Global Knowledge: the Rise of Open Innovation and the Future of Patent Law,” which was published in the Brooklyn Journal of International Law in the fall of 2010. Her note explores the ways in which research and development practices are becoming more open, collaborative, and interdisciplinary. Instead of closed systems of innovation, global businesses now actively manage their intellectual property, and in particular their patents, in a way that uses both internal and external ideas. This allows capitalization of technologies wherever most expedient, thus increasing the competitiveness of all market players.
Shinneman argues that in order to promote successful development of this trend, the underlying goals of international patent law must be reevaluated in the direction of harmonization. Rather than focusing on the ardent protection of ideas, intellectual property rights should serve to further knowledge production, ease the sharing of ideas, and promote and police an ever growing international intellectual property market.
During Law School, Shinneman was a Dennis J. Block Center for the Study of International Business Law Fellow and the Editor in Chief of the Journal of International Law. Professor Claire Kelly ’93, the Journal’s faculty advisor, sponsored Erin’s note for the Competition. “Erin is a brilliant student, a wonderful writer, and is really capable of sophisticated analysis, and I am not at all surprised that she won this honor,” said Kelly. “Her note is a worthwhile contribution to the legal field that I believe is deserving of this award.”
The Judge John R. Brown Scholarship was formed in honor of Judge John R. Brown, the former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, who was well-known for his colorful writing. His widow wanted to create a legacy in honor of his work, and created the Brown Award for the best legal writing by a law student in the country.