Marcus Norrgård – Profile

In our “Profile” series we present prominent professionals from the field of intellectual property rights. For this issue we interviewed Marcus Norrgård, Professor at the Vaasa Unit of Legal Studies, University of Helsinki.

What got you initially interested in the intellectual property rights?

When I started working at Hanken School of Economics in 1997, I was interested in writing a doctoral dissertation, but I did not have a subject. I told my then boss and supervisor to-be Prof. Niklas Bruun that I had a special interest in procedural law. Niklas showed me an expert legal opinion on preliminary injunctions in a IP litigation case. He asked whether this kind of topic that combines IP and procedural law might be interesting to me.

Is there enough education in the field of IPR?

All engineering students should have a basic understanding of IP law. The highly popular master’s degree programme at Hanken shows that lawyers even after getting their law degrees and securing jobs in the IP field crave more education. The IPR University Center has done a great job on continuing education.

Is there need for further harmonisation of the legislation concerning IPRs in the EU?

Since the mid-1990s a huge wave of harmonization has washed over Europe. I think that an overarching copyright directive would not be all that bad. It will also be quite interesting to see what happens with the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court.

What should be the main focus and goal of IPR research?

First, we should recognize that IP research is conducted in very many fields apart from law. In all these fields there are tons of questions that beg for an answer. Second, methodologically  –  especially those of us who do legal research – should understand the value of empirical methods. Third – and this relates to both of my points above – multidisciplinary, multimethodological research into IP management is called for.

If you were a dictator who could change the outcome of any decision in the field of intellectual property rights, which decision would you choose to change?

On the national level it is in my view more a question of what decisions should have been made. The Supreme Court should, for instance, have discussed the scope of protection of patents. On a European level I constantly struggle with CJEU’s case law regarding the functions of trademarks.

What do you personally consider as the most important issue governed by intellectual property rights, regarding for example your work?

Finding the right balance between owners and users. We do not want under- or overprotection, but just the right balance.

Marcus Norrgård

o Doctor of Laws, University of Helsinki (2002)

o Juris kandidat (LLB & LLM), University of Helsinki (1996)

o Professor of Law, University of Helsinki (current)

o Professor of intellectual property law, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki (2010 – 2012)

o Various academic positions at Hanken and University of Helsinki (1997 – 2009)

o Chairman of the Copyright Council, Chairman of the Ethics Board at the Finnish Franchising Association, Member of the board of Nordiskt Immateriellt Rättsskydd.