My hometowns include Seattle, Cleveland, Chicago, New York (all before or up to first grade), San Francisco (grade school and junior high), then back to New York (high school). Other places I have lived or worked since high school include Colorado Springs, San Angelo, TX, Washington, DC, Denver and Boulder CO, Grand Forks ND, Spokane WA, and Virginia Beach. My father was an oral surgeon in the U.S. Public Health Service. I served for a time in the U.S. Air Force, attached to the NSA, and then practiced law in Colorado and taught law at a number of law schools. My law practice was transactional, in corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions, and intellectual property including trademarks and patents. I have enjoyed concentrating my teaching on Contract Law, Intellectual Property, Cyber Security, and Jurisprudence, but with a great many other subjects mixed in with those. I have read in politics, ethics, economics and other fields as background to a full view of the law in society.
I have from time to time been interested in bicycling, hiking, skiing, mountaineering, surfing, and languages including computer languages, international travel and lecturing. I’ve been married for 33 years and have three sons and a daughter (all grown up by now).
2019 Professor of the Year (1L), Regent University School of Law.
2010 Regent University Faculty Award for Excellence in scholarship.
2009 Winner, Ladas Memorial Award for “Space Pirates, Hitchhikers, Guides, and the Public Interest: Transformational Trademark Law in Cyberspace”—from the International Trademark Association for excellence in writing on a trademark-related subject.
I have been consistently listed in the top 10% of authors by all-time downloads on the SSRN (formerly known as the Social Science Research Network). Many of the following are available on the SSRN at: http://ssrn.com/author=519369
Designing Food, Owning the Cornucopia: What the Patented Peanut Butter & Jelly Patent Sandwich Might Teach about GMOs/Modified Foods, the Replicator, and Non-Scarcity Economics, 8 Akron Intell. Prop. J. 53 (2015).
Intellectual Property and Public Health—A White Paper, Ryan Vacca (reporter) James M. Chen, Jay Dratler, Thomas C. Folsom, Timothy S. Hall, Yaniv Heled, Frank A. Pasquale, Elizabeth A. Reilly, Jeffrey Samuels, Katherine J. Strandburg, Kara W. Swanson, Andrew W. Torrance, & Katherine A. Van Tassel (contributors), 7 Akron Intell. Prop. J. 39 (2014).
Racing the Genie (Poisoned Flowers, Part 2): Implementing the Solution to Focal Point Abuses and Trademark Conflicts in Cyberspace—New Law for Coded Technology, 43 McGeorge L.Rev. 815 (2012).
Minority Report: Real Patent Reform, Maybe Later—the America Invents Act and the Quasi-Recodification Solution, 6 Akron Intell. Prop. J. 179 (2012) (symposium issue).
Finding Superman (Poisoned Flowers in Cyberspace, Pt. 1): Resolving Focal Point Offenses and Trademark Conflicts on the Internet by Rewriting Code, 43 McGeorge L.Rev. 199 (2011).
Toward Non-Neutral First Principles of Private Law: Designing Secondary Liability Rules for New Technological Uses,3 Akron Intell. Prop. J. 43 (2009) (symposium issue).
Evaluating Supernatural Law: An Inquiry into the Health of Nations (The Restatement of the Obvious, Part II), 21 Regent Law Rev. 105 (2009) (solicited article).
Space Pirates, Hitchhikers, Guides, and the Public Interest: Transformational Trademark Law in Cyberspace, 60 Rutgers Law Rev. 825 (2008).
Awarded first place in the 2009 International Trademark Association/Ladas Memorial Award Competition for writing excellence on the subject of trademarks.
Reprinted in 99 Trademark Reporter 1166 (2009).
Truth in Intellectual Property Revisited: Embracing eBay at the Edge,2 Akron Intell. Prop. J. 69 (2008) (symposium issue).
Missing the Mark in Cyberspace: Misapplying Trademark Law to Invisible and Attenuated Uses, 33 Rutgers Computer & Tech. L. J. 137 (2007).
Defining Cyberspace (Finding Real Virtue in the Place of Virtual Reality), 9 Tulane Tech. & IP Law Journal 75 (2007).
Awarded third place in the 2006–2007 International Trademark Association/Ladas Memorial Award Competition for writing excellence on the subject of trademarks.
The Restatement of the Obvious: What’s Right Got to Do with It,16 Regent Law Rev. 301 (2004) (solicited article).
Federalist Society (Speakers Bureau)
American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA);
International Trademark Association (INTA);
American Bar Association, Section of Intellectual Property (ABA–IP);
Virginia State Bar Association, Section of Intellectual Property (VSB–IP).
(These are representative memberships; many have lapsed, and others have lapsed from time to time)
My current research interests concern
(1) the intersection of intellectual property law and cybersecurity law with cyberspace and the code world;
(2) normative legal theory in accordance with a specified statement of rule-generating principles (the restatement of the obvious); and
(3) the consequent design of laws transformed to resolve new problems. I have published a dozen articles, and I have presented papers throughout the United States and in France.
More generally, all my research interests are unified insofar as they concern duties (whence they come, how they compel obedience and how they generate rights) and the rule of law (in a special sense: whether there are general conditions under which anyone ought in conscience to obey the law; and how any given law can be improved upon more nearly to approximate those conditions). I am concerned with the question: is there a common basis for a common morality suitable for designing a rule of law in a neo-global and neo-tech era?
My basic teaching philosophy and methods are derived from Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, C.S. Lewis, and Mortimer Adler as modified by my experience as an Adult Great Books Discussion leader, as a student at St. John’s College, as a law student at Georgetown, my long experience working with associate attorneys at my several law firms, and my law school teaching at several law schools since 1985.
Thomas Aquinas (following Aristotle) points out that teaching, like medicine and farming (and unlike making shoes or building houses) is a cooperative art. A seed can grow without a farmer, the body can heal without a doctor, and a person can learn experientially without a teacher—unlike shoes or houses that do not make or build themselves. In these cooperative arts, the farmer, doctor, and teacher can aid a natural process and help it to mature. Aquinas makes the distinction between learning by discovery or experience, and learning by instruction from a teacher, which might be easier and quicker than trial and error or self-teaching. As a teacher, I can make learning easier for students. Prior to Thomas, Augustine already had observed that teaching is the greatest act of charity, facilitated by love (including a love of learning). Plato had said that motivation (interest) matters. Mortimer Adler adds that “without interest, learning seldom takes place or if it does cannot rise above the level of rote memory.”
And as C.S. Lewis says: if we should find that the youth of today can no longer do arithmetic—but upon looking for causes we find that no one is teaching arithmetic—we should be slow to conclude that human nature or human understanding, or the new generation, or arithmetic itself has changed. A useful slogan for any genuine school, and certainly for a Christian school might be: “two plus two still equals four.” These same authors (and many others in that tradition) also insist that all true education has a moral component and the true teacher must go beyond any particular subject matter. I have always sought to introduce life lessons by way of rational explanation of moral choice or by stories, and even jokes and asides.
Christians have the freedom (and probably an obligation) to teach that God reveals truth not only in the specially revealed, inerrant, and infallible scripture and in the word made flesh as Christians know; but also in general revelation through nature and the laws of nature as all humankind is able to know, without excuse. See, among other authorities, Romans 1 and 2. Perhaps a somewhat unique or unexpected aspect of my teaching philosophy is that I believe a Christian (or any other) student, especially in today’s environment, must know some basic concepts from a perspective related to natural law, or to things knowable by reason: natural law and natural moral reasoning, and also some modern determinations and arguments including decision and game theory, accounting and finance, and at least some of what some modern scientists are suggesting.
My methods are eclectic, including lectures, question and answers, discussion and engagement in any ways that work to help students engage and learn. I have worked closely with students, including not only research assistants, but also during open office hours which I encourage all students to attend for questions and conversation.
I believe that my teaching philosophy and methods are, in a fundamental sense, naturally integrated because they tend towards exploring questions of truth and meaning, and Biblical Christianity is founded on the truth (and permissible freedom of inquiry).