From Coast to Coast: Professor K.J. Greene Takes IP on the Road and Back Home Again
That TJSL Professor K.J. Greene is a nationally recognized scholar in the fields of Entertainment Law and Intellectual Property is confirmed by his upcoming schedule. For instance, on March 16, Professor Greene will speak on a panel discussing celebrity publicity rights at the Practicing Law Institute’s (“PLI”) New York conference titled “Counseling Clients in the Entertainment Industry.”
The invitation to speak in New York came from Ron Katz, chair of litigation at the powerhouse entertainment law firm of Manat, Phelps. Professor Greene met Katz at an IP conference at Howard University Law School in Washington, D.C. in 2010, where Professor Greene was the keynote speaker. He later invited Katz, who won a $28 million on jury award for his representation of retired NFL athletes against the league for appropriation of the athletes’ licensing revenues, to speak to students at TJSL in 2010. Professor Greene’s article, “a deliberately provocative critique” titled “The Right of Publicity: Is the Rent ‘Too Damn High’,” will be published in the PLI course materials.
Before Professor Greene flies to New York, he is producing and hosting a conference on fashion law in conjunction with the Center for Intellectual Property and the Entertainment Law Society here at TJSL on March 10. Following the fashion law conference, TJSL will host its first ever fashion show in the new facility. “Such a fashionable, new building needs a fashion show,” Professor Greene quipped, also noting that the school’s Center for Intellectual Property, headed by Professor Cromer Young, is bursting with projects and ideas to move the program forward. “We have real talent on the faculty, and we work as a team with the staff to power up our IP goals.”
The fashion law conference will feature leading figures from the fashion industry, including Deborah Greaves, General Counsel of True Religion Brand Jeans. “Deborah is an outstanding intellectual property lawyer and a fabulous speaker,” says Professor Greene. He and Ms. Greaves shared the stage in 2010 at a conference on trademark and law. Greaves subsequently hired TJSL student Noel Heard for a fabulous summer internship at True Religion.
“Much of what we do as faculty, whether speaking at conferences or organizing them here, is designed to give students access to lawyers in the field, and to enhance their chances for knowledge and employment,” Professor Greene explains. The conference offers CLE credit, and it’s hoped that the cream of San Diego’s IP community will come out for the event.
Also on the March 10 fashion law panel is Staci Riordan, a leading Los Angeles fashion law attorney at the firm of Fox Rothschild. “One of our students (Valerie Barnett) had a contact with Staci and suggested we invite her to speak,” says Professor Greene. “Staci is one of L.A.’s top fashion law attorneys, and we are excited to have her.”
He expressed equal excitement over the participation of his former student, 2002 TJSL graduate Joanna Tsai, an intellectual property attorney. Tsai is founder of JYT Law here in San Diego, and a former General Counsel of Hang Ten apparel. Professor Greene emphasized that a “paramount goal is to showcase the successes of TJSL graduates in the IP arena,” and that “Ms. Tsai is a shining example of what our graduates can accomplish.”
Also joining the panel is designer Jesus Estrada, the fourth designer featured on the hit show, Project Runway. “Jesus brings a real-world fashion vibe to the conference—he is fabulously talented,” Professor Greene remarked. Mr. Estrada’s designs will be highlighted in the fashion show following the law conference.
Professor Greene greatly enjoys working with students from the Entertainment Law Society to host events, and says that working with TJSL students, such as ELS President Jessica Farion to put together a conference is one of the most rewarding aspects of his job. “The student-faculty collaborative partnership is, in my view, a unique feature of TJSL. Our job as faculty is to support their aspirations—our students are our investments. Without the efforts of Jessica and her team, I could not pull this off,” he said.
On March 12, Professor Greene will speak at a conference on “The Business of Social Media: The Dollars and Common Sense of Entertainment & Sports Law” at California Western School of Law. Then, in May, he will lead a roundtable discussion on trademark law in the context of entertainment properties at the enormous International Trademark Association (“INTA”) annual conference in San Francisco. INTA is the leading trademark organization in the world, and Professor Greene looks forward to speaking before trademark lawyers from around the world.
“IP is one of TJSL’s strengths,” he added. “Promoting and playing up our strengths is part of our job description—one of the most important parts. We won’t rest until our reputation catches up with our accomplishments.”