St. John’s Intellectual Property Law Center Welcomes Its Newest Honors Program Scholars

St. John's Newest IP Honors Scholars

L-R: Joseph Anderson ’22, Mary Kate Sherwood ’22, and Lianna Murphy '22

November 1, 2019

When Joseph Anderson ’22 was five years old, he tried to build a time machine so he could visit the dinosaurs. Using some circuits his father brought home from work and a power cord from an old vacuum, he cobbled his invention together, plugged it in, and promptly set the house on fire. Although stuck in 2003, the young inventor was undeterred and went back to the drawing board.

Anderson’s passion for invention and love of learning led him to study mechanical engineering in college, where he developed an interest in patent law that he is now pursuing as one of the Law School’s three new Intellectual Property Honors Program Scholars.

At St. John’s, the study of IP Law is guided by the Intellectual Property Law Center (IPLC), which offers students, faculty, and practitioners a unique forum for research, education, and professional development relating to the legal and policy issues of the knowledge economy.

The IPLC is directed by Professor Jeremy Sheff, who teaches and writes in trademark and patent law. The IPLC’s faculty director is Professor Eva E. Subotnik, whose scholarship and research interests focus on issues of artistic intent that arise in the realm of copyright law and policy. Under the IPLC umbrella, they coordinate a range of courses, co-curricular offerings, programs, and activities that give St. John’s Law students interested in IP Law a well-defined pathway to follow.

The IPLC is also home to the Intellectual Property Honors Program. Selected entering students who plan to pursue IP practice receive an annual tuition stipend to fund their studies, individualized career development support, and special opportunities to engage in academic endeavors related to their field of interest.

As she starts her 1L year, Lianna Murphy ’22 welcomes the opportunity to be part of the program. “Both my early career in media and my love for music drew me to IP Law and St. John’s,” she says. “At Time Inc. and Condé Nast, I supported writers, editors, and creators. Outside of work, I’ve loved singing all my life. From high school in New Hampshire, to college in Virginia, to my early career in New York City, I’ve been lucky to sing with a number of choral ensembles. St. John’s renowned faculty and the resources within the IPLC will help me stay ahead of an ever-changing landscape in both fields—from technology and innovation to ethics and legal theory. I’m excited to learn about all of the areas within IP Law, and to fuel progress in industries that I’m truly passionate about.”

Like Murphy, Mary Kate Sherwood ’22 traces her interest in IP Law back to earlier professional experience. “Working for the literary agency ICM Partners, contracts for award-winning investigative journalists and New York Times-bestselling authors crossed my desk, each more fascinating than the next,” she explains. “I became familiar with everything from multi-million-dollar contracts for celebrity authors to one-page serial agreements for literary magazines in Japan.”

Now, as an IP Honors Scholar at the Law School, Sherwood says she looks forward to learning more about cutting-edge developments in the diverse industries where IP is a focus, such as publishing and music, as well as tech law, data rights, and other emerging and developing areas. “I can’t wait to dive into my IP coursework, and to take advantage of the many networking and scholarly opportunities the Honors Program offers,” she says. “I’ve already benefited from the support, advice, and knowledge of Professors Sheff and Subotnik and the 2L and 3L IP Honors Scholars.”

Anderson shares the enthusiasm of his fellow IP Honors Scholars as they all start their legal studies at St. John’s Law. “I’ve always loved the thrill of the endless possibilities, and now the IP Honors Program puts me at the forefront of innovation,” he says. “This is a big step on my path to becoming a patent attorney, and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity. Who knows, maybe one day, if the right inventor comes through my door, I’ll finally be able to run with the dinosaurs.”