The Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law (CIPIL) was established in 2004 to foster the study of all aspects of intellectual property and information law. CIPIL organises conferences, seminars and visiting lectures, hosts visiting scholars, obtains research grants, undertakes research and makes available valuable resource material in this important field.
The European content of CIPIL’s work has grown with the rapid penetration of EC and other measures, such as the European Patent Conventions, the Unified Patent Court, Community trade mark, registered design and plant variety right, and the various harmonisation directives in the areas of copyright and designs, e-commerce, Internet content regulation and data protection. The Centre is also particularly interested in the development of British Commonwealth and United States law and in the relevant international conventions, including the TRIPs Agreement (Trade-Related Intellectual Property) of the World Trade Organisation. Its current research includes in particular the protection of biotechnological inventions, confidential information, data protection, the impact of digital technology, rights in cyberspace and the place of intellectual property on international trade.
The Centre has been fortunate to receive from funding and bequests from Dr Herchel Smith which enabled the establishment of the Herchel Smith Chair in Intellectual Property, held by Professor Lionel Bently, and the Herchel Smith Lectureship held by Dr Kathy Liddell. Dr Herchel Smith was a biochemist at the University of Cambridge (a fellow of Emmanuel College) and Harvard University who benefited considerably through patent rights, and during his lifetime was keen to support research into the field of Intellectual Property Law.