The Stockholm Intellectual Property Law Review was established within the auspices of the Master’s Programme of European Intellectual Property Law at Stockholm University – a programme that was initiated by Professor Marianne Levin and welcomed its first students in early January 2000. The students came from different parts of the world, and the lectures would usually take place at the picturesque wooden house ‘Juristernas Hus’ (‘The Law Student’s House’) on the Stockholm University campus. In particular for international students adjusting to the extremely cold winter of 2000, getting acquainted with the Swedish university system and its pedagogical approach was a challenge. However, what warmed up the environment was the feeling that you had actually been welcomed into a ‘family’ of IP enthusiasts, a ‘family’ led by the fashionable and renowned IP connoisseur Marianne Levin, with the assistance of her doctoral candidates. This feeling, which is really very difficult to describe on paper, followed you throughout the studies, and afterwards – even after graduation – you continued to be part of the alumni network of the programme.
It is characteristic that among the group of Master’s students of this first year, two eventually went on to write doctoral dissertations in IP at Stockholm University. In 2000, European IP law was in a state of transformation. The advent of the internet in the 1990s profoundly changed the way in which we communicate, use and share information and intellectual resources. In 1994, the TRIPS agreement fuelled the globalisation of IP and recognised the need for global cooperation in the field of minimum standards for protection and sanctions. Sweden’s accession to the European Union in 1995 marked the entrance of Swedish IP law into the European Union legal framework, including its IP regulations, and ended the national (and Nordic) exceptionalism in that sector. It was in this environment that the Master’s programme was born.
The creation of the Master’s programme seemed like a natural expansion of the vibrant research and teaching environment that Marianne Levin had created at the Department of Law at Stockholm University. In the early 2000s, her research group consisted of around ten doctoral candidates, but it would gradually expand even further. The group covered a broad spectrum of IP law and marketing law, e.g., likelihood of confusion and protection of reputation in trademark law, unconventional trademarks, copyright and databases, consumer protection and trading law, employees’ IP rights, patents and biotechnology, damages in patent law and protection for traditional knowledge and natural resources.
Marianne nurtured the research endeavours of her doctoral candidates and the hub that she created was unique in its diversity and scope. It was an unrivalled achievement. It was only natural that the Master’s programme grew out of this unique environment, with plentiful resources for teaching and a strong connection between research and teaching. Beyond resources from the internal research group at Stockholm University, the teachers, examiners and supervisors engaged in the Master’s programme were part of Marianne’s international research network. These were colleagues from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany, France, the US and other countries, who enhanced the teaching staff as guest lecturers. This amazing international network of prominent researchers would gather in Stockholm, even in the cold winter months, to deliver lectures, supervise students and discuss the prospect of new research projects with Marianne and the doctoral candidates.
The IP Nordic Network was actively involved in this initiative, and the programme included several teachers and students from other Nordic countries. Marianne has always been able to identify future IP talents and either attract them to the university to pursue an academic career or encourage them to work at law firms or companies. She has in that way gradually built up a network of IP professionals who owe her their inspiration and interest in IP. Further, it has always been amazing to watch how she is able to enchant and engage students in her projects, activities and competitions, whether IP-related or not. The programme is a result of Marianne’s devotion to developing the field of IP law by recognising and supporting young students with a passion for that field. Her network of former students and amanuenses comprises private practitioners, professors, company lawyers, CEOs, ministry officials and others – in Sweden and internationally.
Such has been the impact of the programme that the alumni network now stretches to all parts of the world (perhaps excluding Antarctica?). Even while juggling the position of a professor and expert with many projects and responsibilities, including as Chair of the Swedish Association for Intellectual Property Law (SFIR), guiding junior researchers in the field of IP law has always been one of Marianne’s passions and an influential part of her legacy. Marianne continues to work as a teacher within the Master’s programme and the undergraduate law programme, and many young IP law students still benefit from her advice and support. She also actively supports the work of the Stockholm IP Law Review! Our warmest congratulations to Marianne on her birthday – and we are looking forward to many more!
Åsa Hellstadius & Frantzeska Papadopoulou