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BIO Marks Passing of Stanford Professor Emeritus John Barton: 'Far Ahead of his Time'

August 6, 2009
On August 3, 2009, John H. Barton, George E. Osborne Professor of Law, Emeritus at Stanford Law School, passed away. BIO marks his early passing by remembering his focused personal commitment and intellectual drive to understand, teach, and shape legal science and technology policy. Barton spoke to the IP Counsels Committee at a previous IP Counsels Committee Conference, in 2008.

A few of his accomplishments and goals (Stanford):  
John Barton devoted his academic career to the examination of questions at the intersection of science and the law. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Professor Barton’s scholarship focused on international law concerns ranging from national defense, to the distribution of intellectual property rights across the developed and undeveloped world, to improving the health of billions of the world’s poorest people. He provided calm and reasoned advice to many institutions involved in making global policies. He helped arbitrate international debates on contentious issues and was known for his ability to marshal consensus through the careful examination of empirical evidence. For example he recommended a balanced approach to the adoption of uniform standards for the world’s patents and copyrights based on historical analysis that revealed a rigid global standard hinders technology growth in the Third World. His recent work involved the transfer of technologies in the healthcare and climate change sectors, and the development of a political theory of international organization and globalization.

Professor Barton was active in Stanford's academic community for over 40 years:
“John was a wonderful colleague,” said Hank Greely of the Stanford Law School faculty. “He had a rigorous scientific mind that he applied to all kinds of problems, scholarly and otherwise. He loved figuring out how new technologies and old societies would affect each other, but he was always driven not just to understand, but to make the world a better place–safer from nuclear war, safer from the ravages of disease. His too early death is truly a tragedy.”

Stanford will hold a memorial service August 16 at 4:00 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Los Altos, as well as an additional remembrance event later this fall.