May 8, 2007

Essay nets law student $10,000 prize

Third-year law student Justin Hurwitz won the William E. Swope Antitrust Essay Prize awarded annually by Jones Day law firm in Washington, D.C., netting a $10,000 prize.

In his award-winning essay, Hurwitz analyzed the role of intellectual property in industry standard–setting organizations. Hurwitz presented the problematic “hold-up situation” that takes place between patent owners and industry standards. The conflict occurs when owners of patents allow their intellectual property to be adopted by various industry standards, while still maintaining the legal right to bar the use of the patents. The industry then settles on using the patents but is often forced to pay exorbitant amounts of money to the patent owners in order to do so.

The paper was originally written for a law and economics workshop at the University, and Hurwitz later submitted it to the essay competition, which called for writings on antitrust topics in general.

Antitrust laws aim to maintain and promote competition by restraining trusts and monopolies from engaging in unlawful or unfair business practices.

Hurwitz plans to use the award money to settle his debt while finishing his studies at the law school. He will be working in the antitrust division of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. next year.

The $10,000 writing prize, presented this year for the second time, commemorates the accomplishments of retired Jones Day partner Bill Swope.

“Bill was a great partner, great teacher, and great mentor,” said Phil Proger, current head of the Jones Day firm. “And with the competition, we wanted to honor him and promote scholarship in this area of study.”