W. Keith Robinson joined SMU Dedman School of Law in 2011. Before SMU, Professor Robinson was an adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School. Professor Robinson teaches and writes in the areas of property, intellectual property, patent law and technology law. His current research focuses on analyzing the challenges small firms face in obtaining patent rights in the U.S. Patent system. He has written or lectured on patent lawsuit avoidance, the patenting of business methods, joint infringement and the USPTO's examination guidelines. One of Professor Robinson's most recent articles appeared in the American University Law Review. The article was judged one of the best law review articles related to intellectual property law published in 2012 and was reprinted in the 2013 Intellectual Property Law Review.
Professor Robinson practiced law at Foley and Lardner LLP as a member of the electronics practice group in Washington, D.C. There, he assisted clients in various areas of patent law including counseling through negotiations, opinions, prosecution and strategic IP issues including evaluating emerging technology. Professor Robinson has counseled clients in a variety of technical areas including computer software, consumer electronics, display technology, signal processing, telecommunications, wireless communications, network architecture, application specific electronic devices, semiconductor devices and manufacturing, data mining, search technology, vehicle safety systems, RFID technology, Internet applications and business methods.
Prior to practicing law, Professor Robinson was a technology consultant for Ernst & Young LLP and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young LLC. He counseled clients on software development processes, developed customized software solutions and designed and implemented web application architectures.
Professor Robinson is a graduate of Duke University School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2004). He holds a degree in electrical engineering from the Duke University Pratt School of Engineering (B.S. 1999). While attending law school, Professor Robinson served in the Duke Law Community Enterprise Clinic, where he provided counseling on copyright and trademark protection and advised entrepreneurial clients on business formation.
Professor Robinson is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
A Case Study of Federal Circuit Policy Making, 66 SMU Law Review 579 (2013)
No “Direction” Home: An Alternative Approach to Joint Infringement, 62 American University Law Review 59 (2012)
Selected as one of the best intellectual property law articles of 2012
Selected for inclusion in INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW REVIEW - 2013, 139 (Karen B. Tripp ed., Thomson Reuters 2013)
Ramifications of Joint Infringement Theory on Emerging Technology Patents, 18 Texas Intellectual Property Law Journal 335 (2010)
Listed on SRN's Top Ten download list for Innovation & Intellectual Property/Patent Law & Policy (June-August 2013)
Selected as one of the best patent law articles of 2010
Selected for inclusion in PATENT LAW REVIEW 517 (Karen B. Tripp ed., Thomson Reuters 2011)
USPTO Issues Supplementary Examination Guidelines Explaining the Requirement for Clarity in Patent Claims, Science|Business, March 14, 2011 (with R.F. Henschel, partner Foley & Lardner LLP)
Listed on SSRN's Top Ten Download list for Innovation & Industrial Organization (March-April 2013)
Current and Potential Methods to Undermine a Competitor's U.S. Patent Application, 81 Patent, Trademark, & Copyright Journal 770, (2011) (with M. Aamir Haq).
Speeches/PresentationsIdentified as a Rising Scholar and Invited Speaker, Naples Midwinter Patent Law Experts Conference, Naples, FL (February 11, 2014)
Invited Speaker, Theoretical Perspectives on Joint Infringement, First Monday Faculty Series, University of Georgia Law School, Athens, GA (December 2, 2013)
Invited Panelist, Game Law Panel, Big Design 2013, Dallas, TX (October 19, 2013)
Panelist, The Aftermath of Akamai, Politics of Intellectual Property and Culture, LatCrit Chicago, IL (October 5, 2013)
Speaker, Theoretical Perspectives on Recent Doctrinal Changes to the Federal Circuit's Joint Infringement Standard, Intellectual Property Scholars Conference, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (New York, NY (August 8, 2013))
Panelist, "Patentable Subject Matter: What's Patentable Today May Not Be Patentable Tomorrow," Southeastern Association of Law Schools - Workshop on Intellectual Property Law (Palm Beach, FL (August 5, 2013))
Participant, "Law and Economics Center Economics Institute for Law Professors," George Mason University School of Law (Beaver Creek, CO (July 7-19, 2013))
Participant, "Law and Economics Center Empirical Workshop for Law Proessors," George Mason University School of Law (Arlington, VA (May 20-24, 2013))
Invited Speaker, Inaugural Intellectual Property Academics' Boot Camp, University of New Hampshire School of Law (Holderness, NH (June 6, 2013))
Speaker, Theoretical Perspectives on Joint Infringement, Drake IP Scholars Roundtable, Drake University Law School (Des Moines, IA (April 13, 2013))
Moderator, Innovation, Disruptive Technologies and the Federal Circuit, 10th Annual Symposium on Emerging Intellectual Property Issues, SMU Dedman School of Law (Dallas, TX (March 22, 2013))
Speaker, The Aftermath of Akamai and the Future of Joint Infringement, Computer Law Section, Dallas Bar (Dallas, TX (February 25, 2013))
Panelist, Portfolio Development after the AIA, 14th Annual Intellectual Property Symposium, Texas Intellectual Property Law Journal (Austin, TX (February 22, 2013))
Moderator, Law and the Future of Gaming, Game::Business::Law – International Summit on the Law and Business of Video Games, SMU Dedman School of Law, The Guildhall at SMU, The Center for American and International Law (Dallas, TX (January 24-25, 2013))
Presenter, Claim Construction, Conference on U.S. Patent Litigation Procedures, Southwest University of Political Science and Law (Chongqing, China (December 3, 2012)) (with Wei Wei Jeang, Partner, Andrews Kurth LLP)
Panelist, New Regional Patent Office in Dallas and What You Should Do to Prepare for the IP Job Market, SMU Dedman School of Law (Dallas, TX (September 6, 2012))
Panelist, Apple v. Samsung: Perspectives on New IP Litigation Strategies, SMU Dedman School of Law (Dallas, TX (August 28, 2012))
Presenter, Protecting America’s Innovators: Combating the Decline of Patents Granted to Small Entities, Intellectual Property Scholars Conference, Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA (August 9, 2012))
Presenter, Protecting America’s Innovators: Combating the Decline of Patents Granted to Small Entities, Southeastern Association of Law Schools – New Scholars Workshop (Amelia Island, FL (August 2, 2012))
Commentator, "John Mercer Langston Law Faculty Writing Workshop," Suffolk University Law School (Boston, MA (June 30, 2012))
Moderator, The America Invents Act, Strategic Perspectives, Symposium on Emerging Intellectual Property Issues, SMU Dedman School of Law (Dallas, TX (April 20, 2012))
Speaker, Joint Infringement, Past, Present, Future, Dallas Bar Association, Computer Law Section (Dallas, TX (March 26, 2012))
Panelist, Representing Start-ups and Tech Companies, SMU Dedman School of Law (Dallas, TX (March 5, 2012))
Moderator, Minority Attorneys in Intellectual Property Law, SMU Dedman School of Law (Dallas, TX (February 27, 2012))
Presenter, Joint Infringement and the Future of Interactive Method Claims, Works-in-Progress Intellectual Property (WIPIP) Colloquium, University of Houston (Houston, TX (February 10, 2012))
Speaker, The Year in Video Game Law, Game::Business::Law – International Summit on the Law and Business of Video Games, SMU Dedman School of Law, The Guildhall at SMU, The Center for American and International Law (Dallas, TX (January 26, 2012))
Panelist, Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, Insights and Implications for Small Businesses, SMU Dedman School of Law (Dallas, TX (September 20, 2011))
Panelist, Professional Perspectives in IP Law, SMU Dedman School of Law (Dallas, TX (September 8. 2011))
Speaker, Joint Infringement and the Future of Interactive Method Claims, Intellectual Property Scholars Conference, DePaul University (Chicago, IL (August 12, 2011))
Speaker, Implications of Bilski v. Kappos, Foley & Lardner LLP (Washington, DC (July 1, 2010))
Speaker, Joint Infringement: Recent Developments, Foley & Lardner LLP (Washington, DC (October 1, 2009))
Speaker, Managing IP Risk in Day-to-Day Business Operations, Software and information Idnustry Association (Webinar (November 19, 2007))
OtherWorks in Progress
Economic theory, Divided infringement and Enforcing Interactive Patents
Hi-tech companies–especially in the emerging areas of the Internet of Things, wearable devices, and personalized medicine–have found it difficult to enforce their patents on interactive technologies. This is especially true when multiple parties combine to perform all of the steps of a claimed method. This problem is referred to as joint or divided infringement, and some commentators advocate that “interactive” patents susceptible to divided infringement should not be enforced at all. In contrast, this article argues that economic theory supports the enforcement of interactive patents. Previous papers have analyzed divided infringement problems from a doctrinal and policy perspective. This article is the first to analyze joint infringement from an economic perspective, using three prevalent economic theories of the patent system.
Protecting American Innovators By Combating the Decline of Patents Granted to Small Entities
The new patent laws and recent trends indicate that there is a difficult time ahead for small entities. American entrepreneurs and small businesses have created several of the major technological innovations in the past forty years. However, statistics indicate that patents granted to small entities have significantly declined. In the wake of this trend, the U.S. Patent system has undergone significant changes. Currently, the United States Patent and Trademark (“USPTO”) is in the process of implementing some of the policies and procedures outlined in its five-year strategic plan. Further, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (“AIA”), the largest patent reform law since 1952, was signed into law on September 16, 2011. Unfortunately, some of these new policies and the overall affect of the AIA may have a negative impact on the patenting efforts of small entities. For example, scholars have argued that the AIA’s new “first-to-file” regime will result in a significant drop in the number of patents granted to small inventors. Accordingly, new patent policies in combination with the decline in small entity patenting may threaten the ability of small entities to continue to lead the country in innovation.
Of Claims and Men in the Internet Age
Everyday patentees (who have invested time and money in pursuing a patent on advanced technologies) discover that their patents cannot be enforced. Several commentators have suggested that patentees can avoid this fate by drafting better claims. Unfortunately, given today’s advances in technology and the limited ability of the English language to define complex inventions, even expert claim drafting cannot entirely protect a patentee from an unauthorized use of their invention. What can be done to increase the quality of claim drafting? Should the patentee bear the entire cost of drafting ill-conceived claims or should the USPTO take some of the responsibility for issuing unenforceable patents? Will better claims lead to better patent rights enforcement?