Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Correspondence with Lawrence Lessig

Lessig is one of my heroes. This is from his bio at his web site:

"Lawrence Lessig is a Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and founder of the school's Center for Internet and Society. Prior to joining the Stanford faculty, he was the Berkman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and a Professor at the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court."

Now I'm no Lessig, and haven't got his credentials nor reputation, but when someone of his caliber is attacked with basically the same accusations as those leveled against me, it certainly makes one wonder. Kudos in that case to Stephan Kinsella for being a stand-out among the patent lawyer crowd, and rising to his defense, as he did to mine.

Their tactics haven't changed. He too was accused of "misunderstanding" patent law, or the following -- "the trouble is he knows nothing of patent law, like most (but not all) law professors."

Here's what I wrote to Lessig:

"Dear Prof. Lessig,

I recently joined the ranks of those who are attacked by patent lawyers for treading on their turf, and saw that one of my patent attorney defenders defended you against similar attacks in the past.

My sin was commenting on gene patenting policy, from an ethical perspective. My book Who Owns You? The Corporate Gold Rush to Patent Your Genes (Wiley-Blackwell 2009) was trashed in a scathing review by a patent attorney with a biotech startup firm employment history (who appears not to have read critical parts of the book, but merely commented on the few cases I reference). My response to his "review" is at my blog, where Mr. Kinsella also chimes in in my defense.

Anyway, seeing that you went through this too made me feel much better. I'm in excellent company.

David Koepsell"


I received this quick response from Prof. Lessig:

"Congratulations! The hysteria of the patent bar shows we're onto something here. I look forward to the book."


Stephan Kinsella said...

Nice post, David--at first I thought you meant the exchange I had just a couple days ago w/ one of the more rabid pro-IP patent attorneys, Dale Halling, where Lessig was again invoked.

drkoepsell said...

Thanks, Stephan. I had read that post, and that got me searching. Then when I saw pretty much the same language invoked againt Lessig, I took a chance and wrote him. I was thrilled he wrote that brief note back, and I offered him a copy of the book. He accepted and it's in the mail to him now.