Alumni Short

Symposium on Law, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Brings Classroom Lessons to Life

NEW YORK, February 19, 2013

Cornell Law Professor Charles K. Whitehead aimed to create a conference that would help students understand “the real world effects of the law” on new business and, at the same time, allow academics and practitioners in the fields of law, business, and technology to work together on pressing legal issues that affect innovation and entrepreneurship. The resulting Symposium on Law, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, sponsored by the Cornell Law Review and Clarke Business Law Institute, was held on February 8 at the Cornell Club in New York City.


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Group of people sitting at table during symposium. Jesse Fried, Harvard Law School speaking at podium during event. Professor Charles Whitehead; Tom Schultz '13; and Eric Young, B.S. '78, Co-Founder and Partner, Canaan Partners Symposium poster

Academicians and practitioners presented papers on topics from Capital Markets to Intellectual Property; and from Venture Capital to Law and Innovation. Each presentation was followed by an analysis from a practitioner or a panel of practitioners and scholars. All Symposium papers will be published in an upcoming issue of the Cornell Law Review.

“We were thrilled to have such a great line-up, including several alumni who have been prominent in entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Professor Whitehead.

Stewart Schwab, Cornell Law School’s Allan R. Tessler Dean and Professor of Law, introduced the keynote speaker: Daniel Huttenlocher, Dean of Computing and Information Science at Cornell University and Dean of the new Cornell Tech in New York City. Dean Huttenlocher spoke about how Cornell Tech has been specifically designed to foster entrepreneurship and innovation. He described Cornell Tech as, “What the city needs and what the nation needs.”  

Professor Oskar Liivak will soon be addressing the first class of Cornell Tech engineers on patent issues. “They’ve expressed an interest in learning more about intellectual property,” Professor Livaak said. “Hopefully, we can help their students and they can help our students.” He added, “For me to talk to people on the front lines will be valuable.”

Dean Schwab pointed out that there will be significant intersection between Cornell Law School and Cornell Tech. “The Law School will have an important role in both the near and far term in ensuring the success of the Tech Campus,” said Dean Schwab. He said that in the near term, the Law School is already assisting in educating the Tech Campus students in intellectual property and related issues. In the longer term he envisions Law students assisting Tech Campus students and others in applying for patents, creating employment agreements, filing partnership or incorporation documents, and other legal transactions.

“In events like the Entrepreneurship Symposium, the Law School can be a catalyst in bringing together a diverse group of entrepreneurs, educators, policymakers, and lawyers to examine cutting-edge issues that promote or hinder entrepreneurial success,” said Dean Schwab.

Presenters at the Symposium:

  • Redrawing the Public-Private Boundaries in Entrepreneurial Capital-Raising, presented by Donald C. Langevoort and Robert B. Thompson, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Reviving the Paper Patent Doctrine, presented by John F. Duffy, University of Virginia School of Law
  • The Right Not to Use in Property and Patent Law, presented by Oskar Liivak, Cornell Law School, and co-authored by Eduardo M. Peñalver, University of Chicago Law School
  • Monte Carlo Simulation of Contractual Provisions: An Application to Default Provisions in Venture Capital Limited Partnership Agreements, presented by Katherine Litvak, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Liquidation Rights and Incentive Misalignment in Start-up Financing, presented by Michael Klausner, Stanford Law School, and Stephen J. Venuto '96, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
  • Carrots & Sticks: How VCs Induce Entrepreneurial Teams to Sell Startups, presented by Jesse M. Fried,  Harvard Law School, and co-authored by Brian Broughman, Indiana University
  • Law and Entrepreneurial Opportunities, presented by D. Gordon Smith of J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, and co-authored by Darian M. Ibrahim, University of Wisconsin Law School


  • Anna T. Pinedo, Partner, Morrison & Foerster
  • Lawrence W. Granatelli '84, Partner, Fenwick & West
  • Marshall Phelps '69, former Vice President, IBM, former Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
  • Eric Young (BS '78), Co-Founder and Partner, Canaan Partners
  • Josh Wolfe (BS '99), Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Lux Capital Management
  • Michael G. Rhodes, Partner and Chair, Litigation Department, Cooley
  • Greg Pass (BA '97), Entrepreneurial Officer, Cornell NYC Tech, Cornell University
  • Colin Hill (MS '00), Founder and CEO, GNS Healthcare
  • Steven C. Browne '88, Co-Leader, Corporate Practice Group, and Managing Partner of the Boston office, Bingham McCutcheon