Home Law School News Drake University and Pioneer Hi-Bred host successful biotech institute

Drake University and Pioneer Hi-Bred host successful biotech institute

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Conference participants discuss presentations and on intellectual property, biotechnology and agricultural sciences.

Industry leaders, attorneys, academics and scientists recently gathered to explore cutting-edge intellectual property issues at Drake University’s Inaugural Summer Institute in Intellectual Property, Biotechnology and Agricultural Sciences.

The Intellectual Property Law Center at Drake University hosted the institute this spring on the Johnston, Iowa, campus of Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. Participating in the conference were leading intellectual property and biotechnology experts from across the United States, as well as China, India, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.<

“We are very excited about the success of this event,” said Peter K. Yu, the Kern family chair in intellectual property law and the director of the Intellectual Property Law Center at Drake University.

“One of the core missions of our center is to foster a constructive dialogue among stakeholders in the intellectual property industries. Central Iowa is the ‘Silicon Valley’ of biotechnology. Drake University is in a unique position to promote education and research in this fast-growing area.”

The institute was made possible by a leadership gift from Pioneer and was co-sponsored by the Drake Agricultural Law Center.

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Peter Yu and Daniel Jacobi

“Pioneer is pleased to be a sponsor of this event, which brought together many of the key players in the biotech industry,” said Daniel Jacobi, vice president and chief legal officer at Pioneer.

“Strong intellectual property protection is a driving force behind the continual development of improved, higher yielding products,” Jacobi added. “It allows companies like Pioneer to capture value from their inventions to fund research and development which, in turn, enables growers to produce more grain to satisfy the world’s need for food, feed, fuel and materials.”

The first day of the institute consisted of a closed-door roundtable with participation from the various stakeholders in the biotech industry. The second day featured a public conference that included academic presentations concerning the latest developments and research in the area. The institute was well received by participants.

“The conference was quite entertaining, interesting and enlightening,” said Margo Bagley, Class of 1941 research professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.

“I’ve enjoyed these couple of days tremendously,” agreed Gregory Mandel, professor of law at Temple University Beasley School of Law.

The summer institute served as the closing event for the Drake Intellectual Property Law Center during its inaugural year. Established in fall 2007, the center offers an innovative curriculum, providing students with a solid foundation in both the theoretical and practical aspects of intellectual property law.

The center’s faculty consists of accessible scholars with a wide range of expertise in various aspects of intellectual property law and related areas and experienced attorneys practicing on the front lines of the profession. One notable member of its faculty is Edmund Sease, a partner in the Des Moines law firm of McKee, Voorhees & Sease PLC and a key architect of this institute.

“This event is the first in what we hope will become an annual international discussion of timely topics for the agricultural biotech industry,” said Sease, who has successfully argued a patent law case before the U.S. Supreme Court. “Des Moines and Drake Law School are logical venues for these important discussions, with so much of the American agricultural industry represented here.”