Law School Course Areas and Related Classes
WHAT THIS AREA IS ABOUT. Intellectual property law refers to the range of state, federal, foreign, and international laws that grant rights in intangible intellectual productions such as ideas, inventions, and writings. As the products of human ingenuity and creativity have become a major part of the world economy, the demand for lawyers with skills in intellectual property law has rapidly increased. The growing importance of intellectual creations has also brought enormous ferment in the field of intellectual property law.
Intellectual property law includes patent, copyright, and trademark law among its disciplines. Patent law involves rights in newly invented products and processes. Copyright law involves rights in works of authorship, whether literary, musical, audiovisual, dramatic, pictorial, sculptural, or architectural. Trademark law covers rights in words, pictures, and other symbols that convey to consumers information about the source of goods or services. Each of these bodies of law dictates the standards that must be met and procedures that must be followed in order to obtain rights, whether and how rights can be transferred, the scope of the rights obtained and the limitations thereon, and the remedies available to rights holders.
BASIC COURSES. These classes introduce the fundamental principles of intellectual property law and are highly recommended to students who think they may be interested in this field. Introduction to Intellectual Property offers an overview of the entire field, while the Copyright Law, Patent Law, and Trademark Law courses provide more in depth coverage of each those individual fields. There are no prerequisites for any of these courses. A student may take any of the three more in-depth courses even if she has already taken the introductory course, and a student who has taken any of the three more in-depth courses may enroll in the introductory course. Whenever possible, each of these courses is offered at least once every year.
SPECIALIZED COURSES. Students who have taken one or more of the core courses in intellectual property law can choose from advanced offerings in the subject, including seminars in which students have the opportunity to pursue a topic of particular interest in depth. Many of these courses and seminars are offered only occasionally. They include Digital Copyright; Entertainment Law; Enterprise of Technology: Lab to Market; International Intellectual Property; Patent Litigation; Patent Prosecution Workshop; Copyright (Advanced) Seminar; Antitrust and Intellectual Property Seminar; Intellectual Property in Cyberspace; Advanced Legal Research in Intellectual Property; and IP Drafting.
RELATED COURSES. In addition to the courses offered in intellectual property law, a number of courses in related subjects may be of interest to students pursuing intellectual property. Many of these courses cover subject areas in which intellectual property rights are among the issues raised: Antitrust Law; Communications Torts; Genetics, Law & Policy; International Art Law; International Trade; Law and Bioethics; Law and Economics; Mass Media Law; and Telecommunications Law.
Two related courses, Electronic Commerce and Cyberlaw deal with intellectual property law to a significant degree, both in the context of online legal issues. The Electronic Commerce course includes introductory treatment of patents, copyright, and trademarks. This course is designed, among other things, for the student who expects to be a technology lawyer or a business lawyer in an area in which intellectual property is important. The Cyberlaw course examines a host of legal issues, intellectual property among them, that are relevant to the emerging technological and social phenomenon that plays an ever-increasing role in our lives: the Internet and related digital technologies. Neither course has any prerequisites.
Finally, students are encouraged to take other courses which, although not directly related to intellectual property, will assist them in practicing intellectual property law. For example, students interested in intellectual property litigation might take Evidence, Federal Courts, and perhaps a trial practice class. Students interested in patent or trademark prosecution, which involve practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, might take Administrative Law. Students interested in corporate practice and intellectual property licensing might take Federal Income Tax, Business Associations, and perhaps a course in Negotiation.
||Anatomy of a Case: i4i v. Microsoft