The highlight of this year’s bench/bar conference was the inaugural Texas reception and dinner in honor of the judiciary and the 7th Amendment to the United States Constitution at AT&T Stadium. The stadium was a big hit with attendees, who got to see themselves entering the field from the tunnel of the 150′ monitors over the field.
The program itself was great. We were welcomed to the stadium by former Dallas Cowboys great Calvin Hill, who was the first to note the significance of the Constitution. He was followed by S.C. Gwynne, who told the story of the reinvention of football from his book The Perfect Pass.
He was followed by a special surprise presentation by Chief Judge Gilstrap to Chief Judges Carl Stewart of the Fifth Circuit and Sharon Prost of the Federal Circuit. Judge Gilstrap unveiled framed “Honorary Texan” certificates for both signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
The keynote address for the evening was by USPTO Director Andrei Iancu, who encouraged us to “[s]tep into the forests of discovery and innovation” and to focus on policies that encourage innovation. “Scaring our inventors and entrepreneurs is harmful,” he said, as is scaring policymakers. Instead, he argued that we should work together to find narrowly tailored measures to correct faults in the patent system without harming innovation, and protect the innovation ecosystem by challenging harmful rhetoric. His remarks can be read in full here.
Director Iancu’s remarks were not made in a vacuum – their significance is set out in Richard Lloyd’s article here.
The evening concluded with the inaugural toast in honor of the 7th Amendment to the United States Constitution.