Intellectual Property Law Curriculum

Intellectual property lies at the core of our economic, cultural, and technological lives. Recognizing the importance of intellectual property to modern society, the law school founded the Intellectual Property Institute in 2004 as a center for the study of this important topic. The institute employs four full-time professors and offers students a variety of experiences related to intellectual property, from moot court competitions to networking with experienced practitioners.

Most important, however, is the institute’s specialized intellectual property curriculum, which gives students the opportunity to take a wide variety of intellectual property courses. Indeed, those with a particular interest in the subject can graduate with the Intellectual Property Certificate—an indication of the student’s expertise on these important issues. Earning the certificate involves taking a certain number of credits in qualifying courses and completing a related research project; for more information, please visit the Intellectual Property Institute. The following overview explains the school’s many offerings in this area.

Introductory Course

Intellectual Property Fundamentals serves as the foundational course for the specialist who wishes to pursue the Intellectual Property Certificate, but the class is also a good choice for the generalist who simply wants to learn the basics of intellectual property law. It covers copyright, patent, trademark, and other subject matters, and it introduces students to the delicate balance inherent in protecting existing innovation without stifling new technologies. This course is typically offered every semester. 

Upper-Level Electives

Students interested in more specific intellectual property studies will have approximately a dozen options from which to choose. The law school offers several specialized courses in the core fields of intellectual property, including Copyright Law, Patent Law, and Trademark and Unfair Competition Law. Students can also learn about the role of intellectual property in particular industries through such classes as Entertainment Law and Sports Law.

Seminars

The curriculum includes a number of seminars that give students a chance to learn about intellectual property in a small-group atmosphere, and to work closely with a professor on a paper exploring a cutting-edge intellectual property issue. These courses include Computer Law, International Intellectual Property, and Intellectual Property Law and Policy, all of which typically satisfy the upper-level writing requirement. Students can also work one-on-one with a member of the intellectual property faculty on an Independent Study—an in-depth research project of a subject of particular interest to the student.

Practice-Based Courses

Any true understanding of intellectual property law requires learning how it works at a practical level. With that in mind, the Intellectual Property Institute has developed a wide range of courses in which students can experience the practice of intellectual property firsthand. Foremost among them is our Intellectual Property & Transactional Law Clinic, in which students work with real clients on real intellectual property transactions—helping entrepreneurs, non-profits, researchers, and artists register trademarks and copyrights, apply for patent protection, draft licensing contracts, develop e-commerce strategies, and more. The law school’s Clinical Placement Program offers a similar experience by placing students in the legal departments of local companies and educational institutions, where they often encounter intellectual property issues. And experienced practitioners also teach important skills in such courses as Intellectual Property Litigation, Licensing and Technology Transfer, Patent Preparation and Prosecution, and Trademark, Copyright, and Trade Secrets Practice.

Electives in Other Areas

A number of law school courses in other areas can also help students understand intellectual property law. These courses include Administrative Law, Antitrust, Bioethics, First Amendment Law, Information Design and the Law, Law and Economics, and Remedies. In addition, other departments at the university offer cross-listed courses of interest to the intellectual property student, such as Cultural Property, Archaeology, Ethics, and Law.