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Virtual Event | IP Infringement and State Sovereign Immunity

Virtual Event | IP Infringement and State Sovereign Immunity

Please be advised: This event will premiere on this page at 12:00 p.m. EDT, Monday, October 25. Register for the event here.

Join Hudson Institute Legal Fellow Devlin Hartline and expert panelists Kristen Osenga, Kevin Madigan, and Rick Allen to discuss state sovereign immunity for intellectual property infringement.

Under the Eleventh Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, states enjoy sovereign immunity that generally prevents individuals from suing states in federal court for monetary damages or injunctive relief. In the early 1990s, Congress passed legislation abrogating state sovereign immunity for patent, trademark, and copyright infringement, thus allowing lawsuits against states for intellectual property infringements. However, the courts have held that Congress did not have the authority to abrogate sovereign immunity using its powers under the Commerce Clause and Intellectual Property Clause of Article I.

The Supreme Court has indicated that Congress can use its power under the Fourteenth Amendment to abrogate state sovereign immunity, but it must first show that states’ infringements are widespread and persistent, intentional or reckless, and unremedied under state law. So far, the courts held that Congress did not have an adequate record when it attempted abrogation in the early 1990s. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office recently conducted studies to gauge the extent and character of infringements by states. The panelists will discuss the problems of state infringements and explore whether Congress now has enough evidence to abrogate state sovereign immunity for intellectual property infringements. Please join Hudson Institute for this important discussion.


Kristen Osenga

Austin E. Owen Research Scholar and Professor of Law, University of Richmond School of Law

Kevin Madigan

Vice President, Legal Policy and Copyright Counsel, Copyright Alliance

Rick Allen

Co-Founder, Executive Producer, and Director, Nautilus Productions


Devlin Hartline

Legal Fellow, Forum for Intellectual Property, Hudson Institute

Hudson Experts

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