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Commemorating 50 Years of ITechLaw

In 2022, ITechLaw celebrated its 50th Anniversary of serving as the leading global organization for legal professionals focused on technology and law. ITechLaw has been serving the technology law community worldwide since 1971. It has a global membership base representing six continents and spanning more than 70 countries. Its members and officials reflect a broad spectrum of expertise in the technology law field.

Hear from our members, take a trip down memory lane, and join us in congratulating some incredibly influential changemakers in the field of technology law. 

 


50 Years of Firsts

To kick off the celebration, ITechLaw took a trip down memory lane to commemorate key events in the history of ITechLaw with our 50 Years of Firsts series brought to you by the ITechLaw 50th Anniversary Committee. Read the selected ten “firsts” for ITechLaw which we will highlight ITechLaw's trajectory as a global organization.

First ITechLaw Conference | First Time the Annual US Conference Left Washington, DCFirst Female ITechLaw President
First Annual European Conference | First Official PublicationFirst CyberSpaceCampFirst India Conference
First Webinar
First Mission StatementFirst Strategic Plan

 

50th Anniversary Awards

To mark this momentous occasion, ITechLaw also honored 4 individuals who have made a global impact and an outstanding contribution to the fields of technology and law. ITechLaw will be awarding these five awards based on the geographic location of the individual: North America, Europe, India, and Asia-Pacific. Read more below to learn more about these pioneers of technology and law.
 
North America Award
Brad Smith, President and Vice Chair of Microsoft


Brad Smith, President and Vice Chair of Microsoft, has been selected as the first recipient of this global award and recognition. He has had an outstanding legal career as a technology lawyer with one of the largest technology companies, has previously spoken at ITechLaw conferences, has been a great promoter of “Tech for Good” and “Responsible AI” principles and is an enthusiastic supporter of the ITechLaw “Responsible AI” book published in 2019.

For over 30 years, including two decades as General Counsel, Chief Legal Officer, and now President and Vice Chair, Brad Smith has been at the heart of the evolution of global technology advances. He has had the opportunity to advance many related legal and social topics. Brad Smith has done so on behalf of Microsoft, but never just in the interest of Microsoft. As one the largest technology companies in the world, Microsoft plays an important role as an industry and thought leader on many topics. In his role, Brad Smith has not been shy to try and advance topics from a broader legal or societal perspective. Transparency and non-discrimination, coupled with the American practice of giving back from a position of success and power, are at the core of his actions. In his recent New York Times bestselling book, coauthored with Microsoft’s Carol Ann Browne, Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age, Brad urges the tech sector to assume more responsibility and calls for governments to move faster to address the challenges that new technologies are creating. Examples of these pertinent issues include: (i) Microsoft’s push to become a carbon-negative company by 2030; (ii) Microsoft’s role in advancing ethical principles for the development of AI; (iii) Microsoft’s use of AI for Good; (iv) Microsoft’s push for diversity in the work force; (v) Microsoft’s institutional support of philanthropy; (vi) Microsoft’s push to advance privacy on a global scale, (vii) a warning for the use of technology for cyber warfare, (viii) a call for a Digital Geneva Convention, and recently (ix) Microsoft’s push for open and equal access to app stores.

Europe Award
Spiros Simitis, "Father of Data Protection"

Spiros Simitis has been selected as the second recipient of this global award and recognition. Known to many as the “Father of Data Protection,” Spiros Simitis has had a remarkable personal and professional engagement in data protection.

For over 50 years, Spiros Simitis has been at the forefront of data privacy and regulation.  Professor Dr. Indra Spiecker gen. Döhmann, LL.M. shared with ITechLaw that “Spiros Simitis understood that information, if recombined and processed with machine capacities, would challenge the foundations of individuality, freedom of choice, and autonomy and alter the potential of the law and the individual to balance power.” Spiros Simitis developed three core principles of the right to information, self-determination, and freedom of information. Spiecker gen. Döhmann stated “It was his belief that the understanding of data protection and freedom of information is the backbone of a democratic society, thus the need to protect society against the exploitation and manipulation of the power of knowledge.”

These core principles enabled the development of data protection around the globe. Spiros Simitis’s work and influence can be traced back to the first world data protection law including the General Data Protection Directive of the EU (EU GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Brazilian General Data Protection Law (LGPD), and Japanese Act on the Protection of Personal Information (APPI).

India Award
Honorable B.N. Srikrishna

The Honorable B.N. Srikrishna, Retired Supreme Court Justice, has been selected as the third recipient of this global award and recognition. Justice Srikrishna has had an illustrious career in the Supreme Court deciding on matters relating to human lives and commerce.

Post-retirement, Justice Srikrishna has headed several commissions such as the 6th Pay Commission, the Committee for Consultations on the Situation in Andhra Pradesh (CCSAP), Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC), the committee on arbitration law in India, and committee to draft a data protection framework. He was formerly the independent director of the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. and director of NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Ltd and the National Securities Depository Ltd. He has contributed to the jurisprudence of data protection by being the chair of the Committee that created the draft data protection bill for the country. The consultation pioneered by him has contributed significantly to the development of the vibrant technology law and policy community that we have in India today. He generated a white paper on the law, conducted several roadshows and then generated a draft law that was widely based on the feedback he had received. During that time he even attended ITechLaw events in India to use the platform as a means by which to collect feedback from the community on the law. In many ways, this approach was unprecedented in tech policy at the time and as a result of the way in which he engaged with the community he fostered its growth.

Asia-Pacific Award
Tan Min-Liang, Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Razer

Tan Min-Liang, Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Razer has been selected as the fourth recipient of this global award and recognition for his outstanding contribution to technology and law. Min-Liang stands as an inspiring model of how a technology lawyer can extend and transcend the role of legal advisor to become a titan in the frontline of the technology industry. 

Min-Liang Tan is a Singaporean businessman, internet entrepreneur and former lawyer. He is the co-founder, chairman, chief executive officer (CEO) and creative director of the gaming hardware company Razer Inc. where he oversees the design and development of all Razer products. With a fan base that spans every continent, the company (now valued over $2.5Bn) has designed and built the world’s largest gamer-focused ecosystem of hardware, software and services. 

Tan was a lawyer before he co-founded Razer at Rajah & Tann Asia and has been on the forefront of legal policy making as a previous board member of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore. He is also a founding member of the Open Source Virtual Reality platform, which aims to create a common standard for VR program design.

Early Career Scholarship Recipients

2023 World Technology Law Conference Scholarship Recipient 

María del Pilar García Benejam, an associate at Rodríguez Rueda S.C., was selected as this year’s Early-Career Scholarship recipient, awarded on behalf of Brad Smith, President of Microsoft. 

Pilar received her J.D. from the Panamerican University in Mexico City, where she was born. She is recognized as a rising star of the firm. She practices corporate work, with an emphasis in M&A and representation of foreign clients doing business in Mexico. She has a lot of interest for technology matters, during her practice she has participated in M&A transactions in different industries, including technology, as well as consultations on data protection, SaaS and PaaS, among others. Congratulations, Pilar!

2023 European Conference Scholarship Recipient 

Nataliia Badora, an Associate at Mamunya IP from Ukraine was selected as this year’s Early-Career Scholarship recipient, awarded on behalf of Spiros Smitis, Father of Data Protection. 

Nataliia specializes in IP enforcement, particularly in litigation, focusing on trademarks, copyright, and domain names. She graduated in 2020, Magna Cum Laude, with her Master’s degree in IP from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv – where she gained a profound and comprehensive understanding of copyright, industrial property, innovations, and the fundamentals of economics. She has won the National Intellectual Property Moot Court Competition twice and has participated in the written phase of the 18th Oxford International IP Law Moot in 2020, in addition to serving as a coach for the Ukrainian team in the 20th Oxford International IP Law Moot (2022-2023), making history as the first Ukrainian team to advance to the Oral Rounds of the Moot.

50th Anniversary Committee 

In honor of celebrating 50 years of the International Technology Law Association (ITechLaw), the ITechLaw 50th Anniversary Committee was established. The 50th Anniversary Committee is committed to honoring and celebrating the past 50 years of the association and to showcasing its future trajectory.

  • Susan Barty, Past President 2016-2017, United Kingdom
  • John Beardwood, Past President 2012-2013, Fasken, Canada
  • Alex Blumrosen, Past President 2011-2012, Polaris Law, France
  • Carmen De la Cruz, Board Member, LEXcellence AG, Switzerland
  • Jenna Karadbil, Past President 2015-2016, Law Offices of Jenna F. Karadbil, United States
  • Gabriela Kennedy, ITechLaw Immediate Past President 2021-2022, Mayer Brown, Hong Kong
  • Michael Peeters, ITechLaw President, DAC Beachcroft LLP, United Kingdom