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Stanford Law School launches Center for E-Commerce

Stanford Law School announced Tuesday, Oct. 8, the launch of the Center for E-Commerce, a forum for scholars, policy makers, attorneys and executives to explore the burgeoning field of electronic commerce law. Ian Ballon, chairman of the Internet and E-Commerce Practice Group and partner at the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, was appointed executive director of the new center.

"Technology and business models continually outpace the development of law," Ballon said. "During the boom period, attorneys were called upon to provide quick, practical solutions, often in situations where there was no clearly governing legal precedent. The Center for E-Commerce, situated at one of the world's great universities, brings together leading Internet lawyers from law firms, major corporations, interest groups and academia to evaluate the development and future course of this important area of law in a balanced way."

"Stanford Law School is pleased to house this new center," said Professor Margaret Jane Radin, director of the Law School's Program in Law, Science and Technology, where the new center will be housed. "We continue to build upon our strengths in exploring the intersections of law and technology." Radin is the Wm. Benjamin Scott and Luna M. Scott Professor of Law and co-author of Internet Commerce: The Emerging Legal Framework (Foundation Press 2002).

Faculty of the Center for E-Commerce will collaborate with scholars in residence and with faculty and students from other university departments on interdisciplinary research and policy making. The center also will host conferences, speakers and other events.

On Oct. 23, the center will host its inaugural conference, "Burst of the Bubble: Lessons and Opportunities from the Dot-Com Collapse." Former PayPal Chairman and CEO Peter Thiel will be the keynote speaker. Leading experts will discuss the most important issues facing e-commerce practitioners, business decision makers and policy makers, including litigation trends, managing venture capital, corporate reorganization and bankruptcy, security of corporate networks, and managing intellectual property portfolios.

The new Center for E-Commerce already has attracted support from many of the world's leading legal firms and corporations.

"As the markets begin to recover from the irrational exuberance of the late 1990s, we are only now beginning to appreciate the key role legal issues will play in determining the business models that will be successful in this new economy," said Gordon K. Davidson, chairman of Fenwick & West LLP. "The new Center for E-Commerce sits in the center of Silicon Valley, where many of these legal issues were first raised. What better place to debate and discuss these critical questions?"

"The burst of the dot-com bubble has motivated many companies to reconsider how they transact business online," said Alexander Alben, vice president of RealNetworks. "Stanford University offers an ideal forum to help corporations examine the enormous impact of the law on the emerging business models shaped by the Internet."

The center also plans to explore the critical role for citizens and public interest groups in developing and implementing laws governing Internet transactions.

"As we look at the impact of law on new forms of commerce, we have to ensure that the voices of consumers and citizens are included in the conversation," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "We need to better understand the relationship between intellectual property protection and the public interest in fair use, free expression and innovation. The new center will help ensure that all of these voices will be heard."

The Stanford Program in Law, Science and Technology combines the resources of Stanford Law School -- including renowned faculty experts, alumni practicing on the cutting edge of technology law, technologically savvy and enthusiastic students, and a location in the heart of Silicon Valley -- to address the many questions arising from the increasingly prominent role that science and technology play in our economy and culture. The program acts to help legal professionals, business people, government officials and the public at large to identify those questions and find innovative answers to them.

Stanford Law School's alumni include leaders at the highest levels of the judiciary, and in business, technology, and government. Among its faculty are experts in law and technology, law and business, economic analysis of law, international law, intellectual property law, natural resources and environmental law, dispute resolution, public service law, constitutional law and rule of law issues. The faculty prepares the school's approximately 550 students for practice not only through traditional law courses but also through innovative courses in e-commerce, intellectual property in cyberspace, biotechnology law and policy, venture capital and technology as a business asset.




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