Villanova Law Student Wins PBA Intellectual Property Law Section Writing Contest

The curriculum at Villanova University School of Law includes five semesters of writing instruction—providing students with a solid foundation in legal writing, analysis and research and preparing them to meet the intense demands of the legal industry. A testament to Villanova’s strong legal writing curriculum, Catherine Contino ’15 earned first place in the Pennsylvania Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Section writing contest for her paper, Guilty by Resemblance? The Supreme Court Struggles to Apply the Copyright Act in the Digital Age in American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo.

This marks the third consecutive year that a VLS student has been recognized in this competition. Last year, Leah Octavio ’14 and Michael Haviland ’14 earned first and second place, respectively, and Daniel McManus ’13 earned second place in 2013.

Contino also placed second in New York Intellectual Property Law Association’s 2015 Honorable William Conner Writing Competition for the same paper. Her submission explores a Supreme Court case at the intersection of Intellectual Property Law and the internet—an area of law which she hopes to pursue professionally. Vicenc Feliu, Associate Dean for Library Services and Associate Professor of Law, encouraged his students to enter the contest and challenged them through the writing process, Contino says. But faculty support extends beyond the classroom.

“I also have to credit Professor Michael Risch for fostering my interest in IP law,” Contino says. “What I really like about IP is the constant tension the law has with innovative technology.”

The Intellectual Property Law Section writing contest was established in 2004 to provide an opportunity for second- and third-year law students to express in writing their insight and knowledge in the areas of patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets or trade dress. The competition is open to students from Pennsylvania’s eight law schools. Winners are selected by a panel of qualified judges based on content, quality and relevancy of their scholarship.