Mapping Judicial Dialogue across National Borders: An Exploratory Network Study of Learning from Lobbying among European Intellectual Property Judges
Utrecht law review
NL : Igitur, Utrecht Publishing and Archiving Services
115 - 128 p.
European patent judges, collective learning, discussion networks, reading networks, citation networks, lobbying
This paper looks at dialogue and collective learning across borders through personal networks of judges. We focus on judges participating in the Venice Forum, bringing together European patent judges involved in institutional lobbying for the construction of a European Patent Court. Empirical observation shows that personal networks of discussion with foreign judges, reading of their work and references to their decisions do exist in this milieu and can be mapped. Our network study shows that judges from some European countries are more active in this dialogue than judges from other countries. The learning process is driven, to some extent, by a small subset of super-central judges who frame this dialogue and can be considered to be opinion leaders in this social milieu. We measure a strong level of consensus among the judges on several controversial issues surrounding the procedure of a possible future European Patent Court. But strong differences between them remain. Dialogue and collective learning do not, by themselves, lead to convergence towards a uniform position in these controversies.