Article Title

Answering the Call: The Intellectual Property & Business Formation Legal Clinic at Washington University

Publication Title

Washington University Journal of Law & Policy


The five articles in this symposium volume have focused on specific aspects of three broad issues: (1) biodiversity loss and what is to be done about it; (2) the national and international debates over the appropriate legal protection and regulation of agricultural biotechnology in view of its potential impact on the problem of biodiversity loss; and (3) the legal protection of traditional knowledge as a means of conserving and promoting sustainable use of biological diversity. As the last of these five articles, by Michael Gollin, points out, one of the principal obstacles in responding effectively to any of these international issues is the lack of access to affordable intellectual property legal counsel in many parts of the developing world where the majority of the earth’s biodiversity is located.

Just as the pro bono organization, Public Intellectual Property Advisors (PIIPA), that Michael Gollin was instrumental in organizing, is responding to this need by matching prospective clients with existing IP professionals and strengthening IP counseling and management resources in developing countries, so too the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Program1 at Washington University School of Law is seeking to respond by establishing an Intellectual Property and Business Formation Legal Clinic, a primary objective of which will be to develop expertise in the overlapping fields of biodiversity, agricultural biotechnology, and traditional knowledge protection and to make that expertise available, both to prospective developing-country clients and to local IP professionals who wish to participate in the pro bono activities of PIIPA.