Intellectual property conference focuses on the consumer

Osgoode Hall Law School’s Intellectual Property Law & Technology Program is hosting a conference which will look at the online consumer in relation to communities of interest, trademark law, patent law, expectations around use of digital musical recordings and more.

The Intellectual Property Bargain: Consumer Perspectives in a Global Economy will take place on Friday, Sept. 18, from 9:30am to 3:30pm, at W132 Seymour Schulich Building on York’s Keele campus. The event is free and anyone may attend. RSVP to

The conference will start with introductory remarks from Osgoode law Professor David Vaver (left), former director of the Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre at the University of Oxford, followed by a presentation by Schulich School of Business marketing Professor Robert Kozinets (right). Based on more than 14 years of ethnographic research, Kozinets will look at the key characteristics and practices of online consumers as they interact as members of e-tribes, online communities focused into social meaningful collectives. In addition, he will touch upon some of their most important ramifications for business and society.

Dev Gangjee (left) of the London School of Economics will look at how consumer interest is legally constructed in keyword advertising and search engine cases. His analysis is based on recent case law, including five pending references before the European Court of Justice.

Osgoode PhD candidate Pascale Chapdelaine (right), an adjunct professor in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law and the former executive director and vice-president of intellectual property for Bell Canada and BCE Inc., will present “The Consumer and Copyright Law: The Reasonable Expectation of the Consumer on the Permitted Scope of Use of Digital Musical Recordings”.

The presentation will question how the reasonable expectation of the consumer can clarify the unclear terms of use of digital musical recordings. Chapdelaine will discuss the merits and pitfalls of applying traditional consumer law principles to digital musical recordings and how a well-thought-out innovation and information policy calls for a better articulation of consumer interests in copyright law. 

University of Toronto law Professor Ariel Katz (right) will look at end user license agreements and terms of use which routinely accompany the provision of digital goods and services, often restricting users beyond the dictates of intellectual property laws. While competition law has at times been invoked to challenge such restrictions, Katz will discuss the limits of competition law and propose two related alternative grounds for challenging them: one rooted in innovation policy and the other in ideas about individual autonomy. 

The conference will wrap up with a panel discussion moderated by Drew Olsen, director of legislation and negotiations at the Copyright Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

For more information, visit the Intellectual Property Bargain: Consumer Perspectives in a Global Economy conference Web site.