The Patent Scholars Network was founded in 2019 by Dr Naomi Hawkins (Exeter), Dr Karen Walsh (Exeter) and Dr Aisling McMahon (Maynooth). The aim of the Network is to create a forum for discussion and engagement between patent law scholars in the UK and Ireland.
In the UK and the Republic of Ireland, there is a relatively small community of patent law scholars and at many institutions there is typically only a single patent law scholar. Although patent law scholars are keen members of the broader community of intellectual property law scholars there are elements of patent law scholarship, often related to the technical and scientific content of patent law, which are quite distinct from other branches of intellectual property law. There is therefore great value in a forum which is focused on patent law to really explore the detail of patent scholarship.
The Network began with meetings in April & June 2019 at the University of Exeter and the University of Maynooth respectively. These initial meetings served as both as an opportunity to shape the network, but also as a means to begin the work of the network to foster excellent scholarship and to make stronger connections between scholars. To this end, all those who attended presented works-in-progress papers, including early stage research plans, draft papers and ideas for future research and funding applications.
The Network has attracted considerable interest and the organisers aim to expand and continue the Network in future years with annual meetings in Ireland and the UK. With this in mind, the organisers have successfully secured funding from the Society of Legal Scholars to help support two future network meetings in Maynooth and Exeter in 2020.