The central Indiana intellectual property bar will celebrate a significant milestone Wednesday when the Indianapolis Intellectual Property Inn of Court holds its first meeting.
Forming the new IP inn in the Circle City dates back to 2017 when Phil Poirier, a patent attorney at Dow AgroSciences, called Judge Richard Linn of the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, who is a champion of intellectual property inns of court. Poirier had clerked for Linn and immediately got the judge’s support.
“I’m really excited about the establishment of the inn,” Poirier said. “I think one of the things I already see, and am looking forward to seeing more of in the future, is how the IP bar and the bench here in Indianapolis will come together to think as a group about issues in our legal practice and to get to know one another better outside our specific environments… .”
Between 80 and 90 members of the Indianapolis IP Inn, along with Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, are expected to attend the inaugural meeting. The event, which will be held at Cummins Indianapolis Distribution Headquarters, will feature introductory remarks by Sharon Barner, general counsel of Cummins, and a presentation of the inn’s charter.
Also, Linn and his colleague on the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Jay Plager, will participate in a judges’ panel, discussing recent developments in patent litigation. Mark Janis, director of the Center for Intellectual Property Research at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, will moderate.
Prior to their appearance on the panel, Linn and Plager are scheduled to spend Wednesday at Indiana University Maurer School of Law talking to students. For Plager, it will be a kind of homecoming — he was on the law school faculty from 1977 to 1984.
Janis noted in additional to bringing IP bench and bar together, the inn will also provide opportunities for younger attorneys to connect and learn from more seasoned practitioners.
In particular, the inn of court tradition includes pupilage groups, which are comprised of lawyers at all levels of experience. The members within each group work together to develop the programs that are presented at the monthly meetings.
Echoing Piorier, Janis anticipates the Inn will build collegiality within the IP bar. He noted when he practiced in the 1980s and 1990s in Indianapolis, the patent community was small and all the lawyers knew one another. But now, as the local IP practice has grown, the attorneys do not have many opportunities network and discuss legal issues.
He is hopeful the new Inn will help bring a return of some of that old camaraderie.