Lectures, Conferences and Symposia


The Tsai Center sponsors periodic presentations and discussions at the SMU Dedman School of Law by professors, judges, and attorneys on topics at the intersection of law, science, and innovation. Organized by the Tsai Center Scholars and typically occurring over lunch, these presentations and discussions—often flash ones responding to hot topics and current events—bring the real world into the classroom. They help students make connections between the study and the practice of law. They challenge students to understand relationships between public policies and positive law. And they invite students to explore differences between normative ideas about what the law should be and descriptive views of what the law is.

The “Leadership Lecture Series” contributes to the Tsai Center’s mission by bringing thought-provoking and dynamic speakers to the law school, serving as a platform for faculty, students, alumni, and practitioners to engage with distinguished leaders in the area of law, science, and innovation. The inaugural Leadership Lecture in October 2016 was given by the Honorable Sharon Prost, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has exclusive jurisdiction over appeals in patent infringement litigation. 

Leadership Lectures:

  • September 23, 2019: Tsai Center Leadership Lecture featuring The Honorable Scott R. Boalick, Chief Judge for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board 
  • February 6, 2019: Tsai Center Leadership Lecture featuring Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission
  • October 19, 2018: Tsai Center Leadership Lecture featuring the Honorable Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

 Innovation Lectures:

  • September 15, 2020: Tsai Center Innovation Lecture featuring Josh Malone, Inventor, Bunch O Balloons
  • March 21, 2018: Tsai Center Innovation Lecture featuring Oculus VR CTO John D. Carmack
  • January 18, 218: Technology, Innovation and Law - Designing Legal Apps Student Showcase


Each year the Tsai Center organizes and holds various conferences directed to the intersection of law, science and innovation. The Tsai Center also welcomes outside groups wishing to hold their own conferences at the law school. These groups have included the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which has held multiple events at the law school, and the American Intellectual Property Lawyers Association (AIPLA), which held an Electronic and Computer Patent Law Summit at the law school in the summer of 2015. Another recent example of a conference held at the law school is the Food Law Forum held in the spring of 2015 and a forum on the Patent Prosecution Highway in 2016. The Tsai Center was proud to co-sponsor a panel discussion on cyber security, liberty, and privacy in February 2017 with the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute. 


For the last fifteen years, the SMU Dedman School of Law has held an annual “Symposium on Emerging Intellectual Property Issues.” The SMU Science and Technology Law Review also holds an annual symposium addressing a hot topic in the field of the law and technology.

Annual Symposium on Emerging Intellectual Property Issues:

  • February 26, 2021: The America Invents Act @ 10 Years 
  • February 28, 2020: Opportunities and Challenges in Creative and Innovative Industries
  • September 21, 2018: Disruptive Ideas and Emerging Technologies
  • September 27, 2017: The Value of Intellectual Property
  • September 28, 2016: Intellectual Property and Social Justice