Tuesday, March 11th  began with the Academic Deans Group Luncheon at Hog Haus.  The host of that Academic Deans meeting was Collis Geren of the Graduate School.  The rest of that day was a pretty quiet one, but that evening was the Inns of Court meeting.

The American Inns of Court (AIC) are designed to improve the skills, professionalism and ethics of the bench and bar.  An American Inn of Court is an amalgam of judges, lawyers, and in some cases, law professors and law students.  Each Inn meets approximately once a month both to “break bread” and to hold programs and discussions on matters of ethics, skills and professionalism.  Our local Inns of Court is named for W.B. Putman who is an alumni of the University and a very distinguished trial lawyer.

At each Inn of Court there is a one-hour CLE program, and this evening’s was on trademark and copyright.  It was a well prepared program.  David Pieper, our alum, began the evening with a general primer on copyright and trademark law.  The session was set up like the game show, Hollywood Squares.  There were nine folks there.  The celebrities that they chose to impersonate were our local alum Don Elliott, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Pamela Anderson, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Houston Nutt.

Just like on the show, there were two contestants. They would take turns picking their favorite “celebrity,” and the moderator would ask a question based on trademark.  The contestants would then decide whether the celebrity answer was right or wrong.  It was a very clever and informative session.  The group had prepared a number of slides illustrating the issues.  For example, one of the questions was whether a color could be trademarked, for example, the UPS brown.  The “celebrities” were also asked if you can trademark a phrase, like Verizon’s “Can you hear me now?”  After each question, regardless of the answer given by the “celebrity” and/or the contestant, David Pieper would give a detailed explanation of the correct answer.  In addition to an informative program, it was great to see a number of our alums and the local judiciary at Inns of Court.