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Course Descriptions

Graduate Program in International Intellectual Property Law

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  • Copyright Law (LAW 405)

    This course is a detailed examination of the entire range of copyright law, including protection for literary, musical, artistic, and other works of authorship. The course is centered on a consideration of the 1976 federal copyright statute, as amended by several recent pieces of legislation, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the DMCA). Topics covered include what kinds of work are protected by copyright, ownership of copyright, and the rights and remedies provided by copyright law. In addition to exploring basic questions about the purposes, nature, and scope of copyright raised by the federal legislation, this course gives special attention to current controversies concerning the extension of traditional copyright principles to the online environment, the legality of peer-to-peer networks, protection for computer programs, Internet service provider liability, the constitutionality of new and greater forms of copyright protection, the interaction of copyright and free speech principles, and the effect of international treaties upon U.S. copyright law.

  • Intellectual Property in the High Tech Era (LAW 283)

    This is a survey class in intellectual property law in the context of the current high tech era. It covers all four intellectual property regimes—copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secret. Questions related to the use of intellectual property with the current technologies will be explored, including, for example, issues of the availability of generic drugs to developing countries and the relationship to the patented pharmaceuticals, the use of peer-to-peer file transfers across the internet, re-broadcast of copyrighted works through internet streaming as well as new digital satellite technologies, and the relationships among the regimes to protect a variety of products. This course will meet August 9-August 22, 2008, starting at 5:30 p.m. (all day on both Saturdays; no class on Sundays). The course is a survey of intellectual property law for students who are not pursuing the Intellectual Property certificate; we do not expect or advise I.P. certificate students to take the course. However, certificate students are not prohibited from taking the course. Students who take the course and later decide to pursue the I.P. certificate may take any I.P. course in the future. This course will not, however, count towards the credits needed to earn the certificate.

  • International Intellectual Property (LAW 236)

    This course will examine issues related to the international protection of intellectual property. The course will survey various international agreements and treaties for copyright, patent, and trademark, focusing on the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPs) of the World Trade Organization. In addition to exploring the basic concepts of territoriality, national treatment, and minimum standards, we will consider political and policy concerns related to efforts to secure and strengthen protection of intellectual property around the world. Prerequisite: any one of Copyright Law, Trademarks and Unfair Competition, or Patent Law, taken previously or during the same semester as this course. This requirement may be waived only with permission of the instructor (for example, based on a student's familiarity with intellectual property).

  • International Patent Law (LAW 687)

    The management of large international patent portfolios (comprising patent applications filed in several jurisdictions), and an understanding of law and treaties affecting those portfolios, is fundamental to international patent practice. We will discuss the basics of filing and prosecuting patents under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), including issues that may arise when prosecuting a US application under the PCT. We will also consider other multinational patent treaties commonly used in foreign patent application filings that affect the management of international patent portfolios and US patents. We will take a comparative look at several aspects of U.S. and foreign patent laws, and will consider current controversies surrounding patents in the international arena—e.g., regarding access to medicines and the patentability of business methods and other controversial subject matter. Patent Law is a prerequisite. This requirement can be waived only with the permission of the instructor.

  • Law of Trade Secrets (LAW 237)

    This course examines trade secret law, a fourth intellectual property regime. It will include the common law development of trade secrets as well as the philosophical underpinnings in contract, property, and tort law, and the development to the present through the Restatement and the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. It will also examine the relationships between federal and state trade secret law, the relationships between trade secret law and the other three intellectual property regimes, and the relationships between trade secret law and other areas of law, such as employment law and law governing business relationships.

  • Legal Writing Seminar for International Intellectual Property LLM Students (LAW 681)

    This is a year-long course designed to teach students in the International Intellectual Property LLM program how to research and write a scholarly academic paper of approximately 25 to 30 pages on an intellectual property topic of their choosing. The goal is to teach the students the principles of academic writing of a caliber suitable for publication in a law journal. In the first semester, the course teaches students how to conduct legal research, both in print materials and through computer research. The class also teaches students the academic standards of proper attribution, quotation, and plagiarism, including some training in how to put citations in proper BlueBook format. In addition, students are instructed and tutored on writing and legal writing fundamentals such as proper sentence construction, precision and clarity, proper word choices, organization, and use of thesis and topic sentences. Further, over the course of the semester, students learn how to select a suitable topic, conduct a preemption search of the topic, outline the paper, and write a title, introduction, and Part I of the paper (descriptive section of the problem analyzed in the paper). Each student receives extensive written feedback on her draft from the professors, after which a conference is held with the student to provide oral feedback and reply to questions from the student. By the end of the first semester, students have written the title, introduction, and Part I of their papers. In the second semester, the class teaches students how to write Part II (normative section offering a solution to the problem), Part III (section responding to criticisms of the proposal), and the Conclusion of the paper. Students learn how to revise their papers and "self-grade" their papers to ensure they satisfy all of the formatting and writing requirements taught in class. Each student also presents her paper to the entire class in approximately 20 minutes and responds to questions from the class for approximately 30 minutes. The class provides written feedback to each presenter, in order to help the presenter improve the paper. During the semester, students turn in several drafts of their papers and receive both written and oral feedback for each part, with in-person conferences with the professors after each draft. By the end of the second semester, students turn in the final completed paper and receive a letter grade for their work in the course. Some students may seek publication of their papers in law reviews.

  • Patent Law (LAW 402)

    Public policies underlying various invention protection systems are analyzed as background for understanding the fundamental concepts of U.S. patent law. The nature of patentable subject matter in the U.S. and the statutory requirements of utility, novelty, and nonobviousness are examined in detail. Students also consider the process of obtaining and enforcing patent rights. Such consideration includes an overview of the disclosure, enablement and claim requirements for a patent application, as well as the scope of protection granted to the owner of an issued patent. The interpretation of patent claims is covered, with special emphasis placed on construing claims under the evolving doctrine of equivalents. Remedies for patent infringement are also reviewed, as well as the defense of patent misuse.

  • Trademarks and Unfair Competition (LAW 416)

    This course covers the creation, maintenance, and enforcement of trademark rights, as well as related forms of protection under principles of unfair competition law. The course includes an examination of the public policies and economic considerations underlying trademark law, as well as all the basic issues (such as the prerequisites to trademark protection, the registration process, the grounds for excluding signs from protection or registration, the scope of trademark rights, restraining the distribution of imitation and counterfeit goods, and remedies available in trademark litigation). The course will also cover protection available under the general rubric of unfair competition law (including prohibitions on false advertising), as well as publicity rights afforded by state laws. In addition to these basic issues, the course will address issues of current interest, such as: protection of non-traditional subject matter such as product designs or colors; conflicts between trademark protection of non-traditional subject matter and the copyright or patent laws; protection of trademark rights against dilution, and the conflicts with free expression that this and other protection might precipitate; licensing of trademark rights; and reconciling the rights of competing users of trademark terms. Throughout, the course will address the application of trademark principles in new as well as traditional media, and will consider the problems raised by online use of trademarks (in such contexts as metatagging, hyperlinking, sale of keywords, domain name warehousing, and cybersquatting).

  • U.S. Contract Law for International LL.M. Students (LAW 166)

    This course is designed for students with a foreign legal education. The course covers all topics traditionally covered in a typical contracts course for JD students such as issues of contract formation, interpretation, breach, defenses, and remedies. Contract formation doctrines such as "consideration" and "offer and acceptance" and modern deviations from the traditional model are presented, as are various defenses to the prima facie case of contractual obligation. These include the traditional defenses of duress, misrepresentation, mistake, impossibility, commercial impracticability, unconscionability, and frustration. The contract remedies of monetary damages, specific performance, rescission and reformation are also explored. Among the other issues that may be studied are the parol evidence rule and the statute of frauds. The course examines both common law contract rules and the UCC. In addition to the conventional contract law topics above, this course also incorporates several short drafting exercises intended to demonstrate how contractual language is affected by the rules of contract law.