LLS Staff Seminar #1: Product Piracy! – What Makes a ‘Decent Infringer’, What Makes a ‘Pirate’ And Why Should we Care?

In the first La Trobe Law School Staff Seminar for 2015, Professor Dr Christoph Ann, Chair for Corporate and IP Law at TUM School of Management and Munich Intellectual Property Law Center will discuss the problem of counterfeit products, what makes a pirate in the eyes of law and how should intellectual property laws regulate patent infringement in the European Union.


All industrialised countries are facing problems of counterfeiting and product piracy. Regardless of all intellectual property protection, almost every successful product is being imitated, from consumer goods to pharmaceuticals, from computer software to motion pictures. In order to fight back and save domestic jobs, European Union countries have enacted legislation facilitating the prosecution of intellectual property rights. But is this strategy yielding results?

Even though we have passed laws designed to fight them, we still do not know what exactly pirates are. It is the purpose of this seminar to highlight whether this is a problem, both from a conceptional angle as well as in light of tendencies to overshoot. Because even though pirates are a threat that we need to tackle: most patent infringers are ‘decent infringers’ and should not be exposed to the hard sanctions meant to fight those who have made the infringements of others’ intellectual property rights their business model.


Professor Dr Christoph Ann holds the chair for Corporate and IP Law at Technische Universität München (TUM), School of Management. While TUM has been Germany’s most highly ranked university for quite some time, TUM’s 12 year old School of Management was ranked Germany’s #1 Business School in 2012 and 2014. Professor Ann holds law degrees from both Germany and the US. Before coming to Munich, he taught intellectual property law from 2000-2003 as a full Professor of Law in Freiburg/Br., then Germany’s #1 law school. From 2001-2003, he also served as what in Germany is called a “professorial judge” on the Mannheim District Court’s intellectual property infringement panel. In Munich Professor Ann teaches intellectual property Law and serves on the Managing Board of the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center. On a regular basis, he also teaches at law schools abroad: in the US (GWU Law’s IP Summer Programme, UWash Law School, Duke Law School, Stetson College of Law, UOregon Law School), Australia (La Trobe University), France (IHEE, Univ. Robert Schuman), and Hungary (Andrássy Univ.). His research interests focus on European and International Technology Protection (Patents & Trade Secrets), including Licensing and Competition Law in their respective business contexts. Professor Ann has published five books and more than 140 articles. He is a listed WIPO-Neutral, presiding arbitrator of the Nuremberg Standing Court of Commercial Arbitration, and has served as an arbitrator for ICC, UNCITRAL, and the German Arbitration Institution (DIS).


Date: Wednesday 25 February 2015

Time: 4.15pm to 5.15pm

Venue: Martin Building, Level 3, Room 362A, La Trobe University, Bundoora

Cost: Free

RVSP: Please send an email to Savitri Taylor (s.taylor@latrobe.edu.au) to register your interest in attending this event.

Marc Trabsky