Mary LaFrance Publishes 6th Edition of Intellectual Property Casebook

Mary LaFrance
Mary LaFrance

Mary LaFrance, IGT Professor of Intellectual Property Law, recently published the 6th Edition of Intellectual Property: Cases and Materials with West Academic Publishing. We sat down with Professor LaFrance to discuss what is new in this updated edition. “This casebook covers all areas of IP: copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, patents, and the right of publicity, all subjects that I teach,” she shares. “The first edition came out in 1998, and I have been doing new editions ever since.”

Professor LaFrance tells us that within the copyright area, the most significant change is the 2018 legislation which addressed copyrights in music and sound recordings. This legislation created new mechanisms that ensured songwriters get the royalties they are entitled to when music or sound recordings are listened to via streaming services.

The 6th edition also includes a Supreme Court decision involving the concept of fair use, a constantly evolving concept in copyright law. “It can be very hard to predict if a particular use will apply as fair use,” Professor LaFrance says. She named Google v. Oracle in 2021 a significant decision that broadened the concept of fair use. Professor LaFrance also points to recent decisions addressing which types of trademarks can be federally registered. In a change from the past, the Supreme Court has struck down several bars to registration because of the First Amendment, even if the trademark is disparaging, immoral, or scandalous. “I don’t know of any other country in the world that will permit registration of trademarks that are offensive to a significant part of the population.”

Professor LaFrance also shared why intellectual property has always been one of her favorite subjects: “I enjoy every aspect—from the science and engineering of patent law to the arts and entertainment aspects of copyright law—IP law accommodates my broad range of interests.”