Seminar for PhD students in Canum

From 6 to 8 September 2019, the annual doctoral seminar of the ITM took place again. Under the supervision of Professor Dr. Thomas Hoeren, 20 PhD students and postgraduates from all over Germany met in Gemeindehaus in Canum/East Frisia. Mr. Hoeren gave a broad overview of the hermeneutical basics of doctoral studies, especially in the accentuation of metatheories and the search for an own preliminary understanding of the respective topic. Then Mr. Hoeren presented typical problems in writing a doctoral thesis, from grammar to literature research and the search for a suitable publisher.

Then intensive work was done on the respective topics. Each doctoral student presented his topic in detail; the research approach was discussed and tips were given for clarifying the meta question and the red thread of the thesis. The individual topics from the field of ITM were presented into the night, ranging from industrial property rights, copyright and unfair competition law to IT law and data protection law. The questions that arose were then deepened during walks, for example at the Pilsum lighthouse.

The seminar, which is offered every year for external doctoral students, fulfilled its goal: the doctoral students learned a lot about possibilities to improve their research approach and at the same time were able to join forces with new like-minded people per colleague.

Workshop Blockchain: When theory meets practice

On July 22, 2019, an international workshop on “Blockchain: When Theory Meets Practice” took place at the ITM in Münster. It brought together lawyers and mathematicians from science and practice from Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and the USA. From the ITM, Prof. Dr. Thomas Hoeren, Assistant Professor Dr. Nikolas Guggenberger as well as the research assistants Johannes Baur and Lukas Willecke and the research assistant Toshihiro Wada participated.

Blockchain technology and the use of Smart Contracts are already being discussed worldwide and offer immense application potential. The workshop explored how the technology can help to solve economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems.

The participants heard four introductory presentations by Erik P.M. Vermeulen (Senior Legal Counsel, Signify & Professor of Business and Financial Law, Tilburg University), Sandra van Heukelom (Partner, Pels Rijcken), Craig Calcaterra (Professor of Mathematics, Metropolitan State University) and Nikolas Guggenberger (ITM). They then deepened the discussion into legal and technical aspects of the block chain technology and its practical implementation; e.g. the importance of programming skills in legal education, the importance of the involvement of lawyers in the conception phase of block chain solutions, data protection challenges and the regulation of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

One of the topics of discussion was whether the decentralized structure of the block chain technology is up to the practical challenges, which at least a part of the participants considered possible. According to the participants, the technology not only had great economic potential, but could even create a basis for a new form of democracy. Other participants were somewhat more reserved about this euphoria.

The ITM thanks all participants for the meaningful and instructive discussion.