In spite of her busy schedule, Dr Kang made time to answer some questions for this blog. Her responses to questions asked of her were interesting and insightful as seen below:
Question 1) What is intellectual property?
Response: It would be perhaps more accurate to talk about intellectual properties – plural. There are many forms of intellectual property, but what they have in common is that they are concerned with products of intellectual or knowledge labour. The essence of the property is something intangible, whereas in real property, the objects of property rights are tangible: think of car, house, land. In law, intellectual property usually encompass copyright (for literary, artistic, musical works, for example), patents for inventions, trade marks for signs and design rights. But intellectual property also include rights which are not clearly defined in these legal categories, such as the notions of know-how and trade secrets. Plagiarism cases are also essentially about whether or what can be understood as another person’s intellectual ‘property’ – this often raises questions of proper and improper conduct.
Question 2) What are the current modules for Intellectual property on the LLM course and will this change in the future?
Response: Currently we have LW801 Intellectual Property Law and LW 813 Contemporary Issues in Intellectual Property, which studies the place of intellectual property in contemporary debates.
Starting in 2016/7, subject to final faculty approval, we will expand our IP curriculum. This is an exciting new development which we initiated as a result of growing student demand, and it reflects the importance of intellectual property issues in today’s economy and society. We will have specialised courses in copyright and breach of confidence; patents and trade marks; IP and Industrial Practices; and Contemporary Issues in Intellectual Property. Students will have the opportunity to choose the LLM stream in Intellectual Property.
Question 3) Is there a need for a Postgraduate student to have some prior knowledge of this area of law to study the Intellectual property modules?
Response: No, but curiosity an interest in intellectual property will go a long way!
Question 4) How can I use the intellectual property law knowledge I acquire at Kent in practice as a lawyer?
Response: You will benefit from the knowledge gained at Kent, particularly if you decide to specialise in copyright, trade marks or patent law after your qualify as a lawyer. Of course, the various professional requirements vary from country to country but regardless of these different regulations, you will have the advantage of an in-depth knowledge and understanding of intellectual property law. You will have acquired an awareness of intellectual property’s complex relationship to commercial, social and historical contexts. This is what makes our intellectual property programme special in comparison to other universities’ offerings.
Question 5) What is your background?
Response: I have a fairly multi-national background having grown up and lived in many different countries. Also whereas my home discipline is law, I have wandered into other academic ’territories’ because my research interests necessitated those cross-overs. I read law and government at the London School of Economics as an undergraduate, then did an LLM there. My PhD was in Law at the European University Institute in Florence. As my PhD topic was on personhood and human gene patents, I got interested in anthropology and molecular genetics. I spent a year at the anthropology department at the University of California in Berkeley, and my postdoctoral research was conducted at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, where I had the pleasure of learning from historians, molecular biologists, physicists, literary scholars and musicologists. I taught science studies in Switzerland after that, after returning ‘home’ to law.
Question 6) Why did you specialise in this area of law?
Response: To be honest, I was led by curiosity, there was no plan at the beginning! My LLM dissertation was on human rights and human gene patents. It was year 2000, and questions about genetic engineering and enhancement were starting to get more attention. Juergen Habermas, the German philosopher, wrote a long article in the newspaper, warning against ‘playing god’. I got curious about the meaning of human in these debates, then later on about the relationship between science and law. Patent law is implicated in all of these debates.
End of the Interview.