Anthony Cheng ’11 Wins Top Prize in IP Law Writing Competition

Anthony Cheng '11 Wins Top Prize in IP Law Writing Competition

Public Affairs, 212-854-2650

New York, May 5, 2011—Anthony Cheng '11 won first place in this year’s William C. Conner Intellectual Property Law Writing Competition awarded by the New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA).  The Board of the NYIPLA gave Cheng’s note, entitled “Lex Luthor Wins: How the Termination Right Threatens to Tear the Man of Steel in Two,”  the top prize for its “stellar analysis, writing style, and pertinence.”

The competition, established in 1992, is named in tribute to the Honorable William C. Conner, a former president of the NYIPLA and federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and the important contributions he made to the field of intellectual property.  A former patent lawyer and expert in intellectual property law, Judge Conner’s rulings involved first amendment rights, ASCAP licensing, and influenced how songwriters receive royalties.

Cheng’s paper discusses DC Comics character Superman and the unending copyright issues revolving around the ubiquitous figure, including the termination of transfer provision created in the Copyright Act of 1976 which allows a creator’s heirs to regain copyright.

Calling for increased clarity to aid creators and rightsholders, Cheng concludes that, “As high profile litigation in this area increases and creators become more aware of their termination rights, the threat increases that beloved characters will be locked in unending courtroom battles, to the detriment of all, while the labyrinthine provisions of the termination right and its unclear interaction with the character copyright get interpreted.”  

Lecturers-in-Law June Besek and Philippa Loengard of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts supervised the writing of the Cheng’s paper. "Anthony's interest in and dedication to the IP field has been apparent since he arrived at Columbia Law School.  I’m delighted that the judges of the William C. Conner Writing Competition recognized his talent and hard work," said Besek.

As part of the prize for winning the competition, Cheng received $1,500 and will be awarded a plaque at the NYIPLA annual meeting and dinner on May 24 at the Harvard Club.

“Receiving this award was a great honor,” said Cheng (left), “and I will strive to live up to the standards of the Board of the NYIPLA and the Honorable William C. Conner in my career and future writings.” His interest in intellectual property, law, media, and the arts will take him to Colorado to work as Associate Corporate Counsel at EchoStar/DISH Network after graduation. He graduates on May 16.

The NYIPLA, established in 1922, serves to promote interest and encourage further development in the field of intellectual property to a broad range of people including attorneys and the public.

Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School joins its traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, criminal, national security, and environmental law.
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