If you’re interested in pursuing a degree in intellectual property law, you’re required to take and complete a variety of classes that are directly related to intellectual property law at a qualified law school.
The path to this career isn’t easy and requires dedication and effort, but once you complete these requirements you’ll be involved in one of the fastest growing practices. Due to the growth in both technology and the global economy, many law firms are taking on more and more cases involving copyrights, trademarks, and patents.
Before we get into the actual classes you can expect to take when specializing in intellectual property law, its first important to note that each and every law school is different and has different requirements for their law degrees. The courses in this article are usually required for a general IP law degree, but some schools may require more or less coursework than others. In order to get a more concrete idea of what courses you’re expected to take, it’s best to research the particular school you’re thinking of attending. Without further delay here are some of the classes you should expect to take when pursuing a degree in intellectual property law.
Since intellectual property law consists mainly of protecting individuals from copyright, trademark, and patent theft or unfair use you should expect to take law classes dealing in those subjects.
The first course type we are going to talk about is copyright law, which is intended to teach you about the various theories and methods lawyers use to protect an individuals or companies intellectual and creative properties. These include, but are not limited to, copyrights on computer software, architecture, music, literature, television programs, movies, video games, artwork, advertisements, and puzzles. There are certainly many other types of intellectual properties that are protected by copyright laws but these are some of the more common types.
Copyright classes will teach you about the rather complex federal statutes that are in place to protect against copyright infringement, but will also touch on some related laws that can provide an alternative means to copyright protection.
Another set of classes you would take in a general IP law program are those concerning patent law. These classes will teach you all about the various laws and ways a lawyer would go about procuring patents for clients, the sale and transferring of patents, as well as the enforcement of patents. You’ll basically have to show that you have a solid understanding of the rather complex statutory language that defines patent law. You’ll also have to be able to show that you’ve learned how to apply prior court decisions on patents to justify other cases, as well as show an understanding of how and why you would conduct business transactions involving patents.
The fun doesn’t end there as you’ll also be taught how to fully understand the impact of the burden of proof and how various pieces of evidence can be used to assess patent disputes. Finally, you’ll learn about the rather complex situations where there are levels of ambiguity to patent laws and how you would hypothetically asses those ambiguities using the facts of the law.
Trademark law is another coursework set you will take in an IP law program. Trademark law deals with the investigation and protection of trade symbols. Trademark law explains how and why certain images are protected from unfair use such as using the Burger King logo on T-shirts for sale without their permission. Of course, there is much more to it than that, as you will also learn about how various laws protect individuals and businesses from using and abusing their protected trademarks. In addition, you’ll also become well-versed in actionable false advertising, the law of branding, knowing the difference between trademarks and the other types of intellectual property and how they relate to the law and understanding how trademark law works in relation in the context of unfair competition.
You may even be required to learn about how United States trademark laws relate to that of other countries, as well as the procedures and resources available to register trademarks.
These three subsets of IP law will serve as the backbone of your IP law program, but you may also be required to take an introductory course concerning intellectual property that will set the tone for the other classes mentioned in this article. This course is basically a preview of what intellectual law is which can be a great way for aspiring lawyers to test the waters of IP law in order to see if it’s something they wish to pursue.
There are a few other courses that are recommended for law students pursuing a career in IP law such as patent prosecution, law, science & biotechnology, and antitrust courses.
Taking these courses will certainly get you on the right track to a glorious career in intellectual property law, but you’ll also be required to pass certain tests in order to become licensed to practice these types of cases including the patent bar exam.