Dr Mariela de Amstalden

Dr Mariela de Amstalden

Birmingham Law School
Assistant Professor in Intellectual Property and Innovation Law
Head of Accreditations and Risks

Dr Mariela de Amstalden joined Birmingham Law School in September 2021. Her research explores the legal implications of emerging biotechnologies, in particular animal cell-cultivation, and their implications for international economic law and global governance. Her monograph, Global Food Governance: Implications of Food Safety and Quality Standards in International Trade Law (Berne: Lang 2015) explored how the notion of legal standards in international law can be interpreted to ensure that global food demands are met. She has experience in private practice and the judiciary and has published a number of peer-reviewed articles about the law of emerging biotechnologies, food and public health regulation at the intersection with international economic law and global governance.

Qualifications

  • 2015 PhD in International Economic Law, University of Lucerne, Faculty of Law, Lucerne (Switzerland)
  • 2012 LL.M. in Intellectual Property Rights, VU Amsterdam, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
  • 2009 MLaw in Transnational Legal Studies, University of Lucerne, Faculty of Law, Lucerne (Switzerland)

Biography

Prior to joining the University of Birmingham, Mariela de Amstalden was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Scottish Centre for IP and IT Law (SCRIPT), Edinburgh Law School, where she initiated work on the law of cell-cultivated technologies. Previous appointments include a lectureship in Public Law at the University of St. Gallen (HSG), Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia and a Research Fellowship at Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne. She has been a visiting scholar at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge and at the Institute for International Economic Law, Georgetown University. Alongside private practice experience in Switzerland with Schellenberg Wittmer and CMS Erlach Poncet in their dispute resolution departments located in Zurich, Mariela has consulted for the Swiss Department of Public Health and United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) on issues related to trade in foodstuffs and sustainable development law, respectively.

Teaching

  • Intellectual Property Law
  • European Union Law
  • International Trade Law and Policy
  • Preferential Trade Agreements
  • Global Competition Law.

Postgraduate supervision

• International Economic Law, including the law of the World Trade Organisation
• Intellectual Property Rights, particularly Trademarks and Patent Law
• Innovation Law, particularly emerging transformative technologies like cell-cultivation and artificial intelligence regulation
• Public International Law and International Dispute Settlement
• Comparative Law, including civil law

Research

My academic work primarily focuses on public international law, technology and innovation law and policy, global economic governance and intellectual property rights. At its core, my research reinvigorates the legal study of global governance systems and its impact on innovations that tackle pressing social, economic and political challenges to public health, the environment and the global supply of foodstuffs. Building on applied methods of law and, my work integrates contemporary legal theories of sociology and economy to devise whether and to what extent new technological advances impact the development of the law as a whole. Specifically, my research asks how new forms of global governance, such as technical standards, primary and secondary legislation, as well as best practices and codes of conduct are transforming both the nature of the global supply chain and the activities of stakeholders involved in the international trade cycle, including its implications for IP rights. It ultimately aims at improving efficiencies and addressing global challenges such as climate change, food security and animal welfare from a legal and regulatory perspective.

My current project profiles the developing, manufacturing and marketing of alternative proteins to establish links between the role played by technical regulations on food labelling and access to trademark rights. Specifically, this work focuses on the emerging field of cellular technologies and its implications for domestic and international legal regimes applying to the free flow of foodstuffs. Promoted as a more sustainable alternative to conventional proteins, research into cell-based agri- and aquaculture products (cultivated meats) has gained new urgency in response to pressing global challenges. In essence, cultivated meats are meats produced by tissue and bioprocess engineering that result in a product that is molecularly identical to conventional meats. In light of this, some initial regulatory activity with the aim of accommodating (or hindering) the placing on the market of cultured meat products could be identified in different jurisdictions. Nonetheless, the regulatory pushback from established global market players in the meat, fish and diary industries is already noticeable. For cultivated meats start-ups, their new products provide the most efficient answer to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, feed a growing world population and prevent food-borne diseases. For conventional producers of food, cellular technology products are artificial and thus, not equivalent for the purposes of market share. Yet the process of regulating emerging transformative technologies remains fragmented and underdeveloped, and its potential effects on international economic law (IEL) remain unexplored. This work ultimately argues that international law has the ability to contribute to better global governance by accommodating higher public policy imperatives, such as the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Cultural and anthropological practices around food and its consumption add another layer of difficulty, especially for international legal regimes.

My previous work addressed the evolution of new governance mechanisms to ensure that global food demands are met. The main research output resulted in a monograph published in the Series Studies on Global Economic Governance, edited by Prof. Thomas Cottier, and was titled ‘Global Food Governance: Implications of Food Safety and Quality Standards in International Trade Law’ (Berne:Peter Lang 2015). This work was premised in the assumption that the law of the World Trade Organisation has succeeded to varying extents in providing a multilateral framework for the development of new food regulatory practices. However, changing trends in the production and distribution of food products, as well as ongoing worldwide outbreaks of food-borne diseases, have questioned the effectiveness of the regulatory status quo. The result is a progressively complex network of food safety and quality standards influencing global trade that are seemingly unable to operate on a domestic and public level alone. I ultimately show how these newly developed food standards are international and private in nature, driven by the increasing globalisation of the food supply chain and the economic and political dominance of non-state actors. Although the use of different regulatory approaches, such as harmonisation, coordination and equivalence, could arguably warrant legal inclusivity, my work shows that the tension created by the public/private legal dichotomy under which these standards materially operate remains unresolved, and asks whether there is a need and for new legal and regulatory structures that guarantee the free flow of goods.   

Publications

Recent publications

Book

Maidana-Eletti, M 2016, Global Food Governance: Implications of Food Safety and Quality Standards in International Trade Law. Studies in Global Economic Law, vol. 15, Verlag Peter Lang AG, Berne. https://doi.org/10.3726/978-3-0351-0917-7

Article

de Amstalden, M 2022, 'Seafood without the sea: Article 20 of the agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights, the ‘justifiability test’ and innovative technologies in a sustainable blue economy', The Journal of World Investment & Trade, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 68-94. https://doi.org/10.1163/22119000-12340241

de Amstalden, M & Schafer, B 2022, 'When brand distinctiveness is in the AI of the beholder: Trademark law in the age of AI shoppers', New Zealand Yearbook of International Law.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Amstalden, MM-ED 2022, Global health standards and food security: exploring the double science standard of review under the SPS agreement after India – agricultural products. in LA Jacobs, Y Wada & I Vertinsky (eds), Global Health Security in China, Japan, and India: Assessing Sustainable Development Goals. Asia Pacific Legal Culture and Globalization, University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver.

de Amstalden, M 2022, Patents: Burden of proof under Article 34 WTO TRIPS. in H Hestermeyer & P-T Stoll (eds), Commentaries on World Trade Law: WTO: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Brill, 2022 World Trade Forum, Geneva, Switzerland, 23/09/22.

de Amstalden, M 2022, Patents: Terms of protection under Article 33 WTO TRIPS. in H Hestermeyer & P-T Stoll (eds), Commentaries on World Trade Law: WTO: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Brill, 2022 World Trade Forum, Geneva, Switzerland, 23/09/22. https://doi.org/10.1163/0000-0000_WTCO_COM_6045

de Amstalden, M 2022, Trademarks: Special requirements under Article 20 WTO TRIPS. in H Hestermeyer & P-T Stoll (eds), Commentaries on World Trade Law: WTO: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Brill, 2022 WTO Public Forum, Geneva, Switzerland, 23/09/22. https://doi.org/10.1163/0000-0000_WTCO_COM_6026

de Amstalden, M 2022, Trademarks: exceptions under Article 17 WTO TRIPS. in H Hestermeyer & P-T Stoll (eds), Max Planck Commentaries on World Trade Law: WTO: Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Brill.

de Amstalden, M 2022, Trademarks: Rights conferred under Article 16 WTO TRIPS. in H Hestermeyer & P-T Stoll (eds), Commentaries on World Trade Law: WTO: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Brill.

de Amstalden, M 2022, Trademarks: protectable subject matter under Article 15 WTO TRIPS. in H Hestermeyer & P-T Stoll (eds), Max Planck Commentaries on World Trade Law: WTO: Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Brill. https://doi.org/10.1163/0000-0000_WTCO_COM_6026

Amstalden, MM-ED 2015, Public Health and Nutrition: The Next Frontier at the SPS Agreement. in SA Bernet, G Gertsch & R Harasgama (eds), Mobilität – Mobilité – Mobility: Recht der mobilen Gesellschaft. Dike Verlag, Zurich, pp. 229-244.

Abstract

de Amstalden, M & Schafer, B 2021, 'From Leibniz Characteristica Universalis to Google Translate: Machine Translation as Challenge and Opportunity for International Law', Annual Conference of the European Society of International Law, Stockholm, Sweden, 7/09/21 - 9/09/21.

Paper

de Amstalden, M 2021, 'When Brand Distinctiveness is in the AI of the Beholder: Challenges to Trademark Law in the Age of AI Shoppers', Paper presented at Society of International Economic Law Bi-annual Conference, Milan, Italy, 8/07/21 - 10/07/21.

de Amstalden, M & Schafer, B 2020, 'Cultured Meat: Of Regulations, Trademarks and Transformative Biotechnologies', Paper presented at 9th Annual Conference of the Society of International Economic Law for Early Career Researchers (PEPA/SIEL), Jerusalem, Israel, 17/05/20 - 20/05/20.

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

  • International economic law, intellectual property rights, food and public health regulation

Languages and other information

  • English, German, Spanish