Law School Summer Programs in Intellectual Property for 2010

When law students ask, I generally recommend pursuing practical experience rather than summer school. This year, however, summer jobs for law students are scarce — making school a more likely alternative. Summer programs that focus on intellectual property (IP) law are especially interesting because they draw-together a critical mass of students and professors who are interested in patent and copyright issues.  In those settings, the intellectual property law discussions tend to spill-out from the class into lunch, dinner, and late-night pub conversations or debates.  In my experience, summer classes are often less rigorous than the ordinary law school classes. For that reason, I might avoid taking core-classes such as US Patent Law.

I created a simple spreadsheet guide [Download IPSummer2010] to help students locate intellectual property focused summer programs. To create the guide, I contacted all of the US patent law professors that I know and also sent an e-mail to the Deans of Academic Affairs of US Law School. There may be other programs out there — notably, many law schools offer summer classes in IP law (although I wouldn't call those IP Programs).

Study Abroad: The list includes two programs in Munich, Germany (George Washington and Santa Clara); two programs in China (Franklin Pierce and John Marshall); and two programs on the isles (Loyola of LA in London and Franklin Pierce in Cork). Although not strictly an intellectual property program, UW/Marquette program in Giessen Germany will include an IP component.

In the US, Franklin Pierce's Intellectual Property Summer Institute (IPSI) has been a mainstay in Concord, NH. This year, they expect to offer 15 different courses focused on intellectual property (students are only allowed to earn up to 6 credits). I taught in Concord in the summer of '07 and had a fabulous time. Although the information is not yet fully available, American University is also planning a summer program in Washington DC as part of its Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP). On the west coast, Santa Clara is again offering several IP classes through its Hi-Tech Summer School in Santa Clara (Silicon Valley). Folks at SUNY Buffalo (Buffalo, NY) and TM Cooley (Auburn Hills, MI) also wrote in to note that they will be offering IP classes within their summer offerings. I suspect that other schools will do the same.

All of the IP summer programs have limited enrollment.

Files: Download IPSummer2010.

32 thoughts on “Law School Summer Programs in Intellectual Property for 2010

  1. 32

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  2. 29

    I realise that Bad, thanks, but I was just musing on the possibility of individuals in the USA stumbling upon EPO-PSA then using it to their advantage, in argument about obviousness.

    First off, that would be PTO Exrs, wanting to formulate an obviousness objection, reading Register Plus and then borrowing from the EPO-EESR.

    But it might be attorneys too, like those representing Brother, in the BPAI case now highlighted by Dennis in his most recent thread concerning the admissibility of new arguments in a Reply Brief. If you are belatedly scratching around for a cute argument that will overcome an obviousness attack, it might be a good idea to tap up your European counsel.

    Have it that I’m fantasising, if you prefer. Time will tell, whether or not I’m right.

  3. 28

    Max, in the US, that is all there is to it. Our laws do not require a PSA. They only require that it be useful, novel, and non-obvious as defined by the Graham factors.

  4. 27

    Bad you write that, when an Exr writes something like:

    “it would be obvious to one skilled in the art to add those elements to the cited art and combine them in a way to get your invention because they wanted to meet the purpose of your invention”

    you conclude that:

    “There’s clearly something else going on too as evidenced by the gross misuse of hindsight.”

    I agree. I think what’s going on is the gross misuse within the USPTO of the EPO-PSA that you can see working properly in such EPO Decisions as AgrEvo T_0939/92.

    The clue is “purpose”. EPO-PSA interrogates 1)the appln as filed and 2) a “realistic prior art starting point” to find 3) a “purpose”, then 4) parses that purpose into something called the “objective technical problem”.

    The motive to use EPO-PSA inside the USPTO is that it routinely disposes of obviousness in a trice, with no hard feelings on either side. But you do have to do it rigorously, otherwise it attracts the criticism that it amounts to impermissible use of hindsight.

    (Actually, EPO-PSA is the only way to do obviousness that properly excludes ex post facto reasoning. But readers surely don’t want that stuff from me, all over again.)

    The mistake many patent people outside EPO circles make is to not bother to learn how to “do” EPO-PSA rigorously. They know what a problem is, and they know what a solution is. They think that’s all there is to it.

  5. 26

    Max, in the past, they’ve been taught to reject, not examine. There’s a not so subtle difference, and that’s what all of the current examiners came in under.

    I wish it was only that they just weren’t fully trained. However, when I explain the law and the case in terms of the law and you give me some crap about “well, I know those elements are not shown in the cited art, but it would be obvious to one skilled in the art to add those elements to the cited art and combine them in a way to get your invention because they wanted to meet the purpose of your invention,” it’s more than just being untrained. There’s clearly something else going on too as evidenced by the gross misuse of hindsight.

  6. 25

    Old, I don’t quite see how the EPO will “gain”. The USPTO and the EPO are not in competition, are they?

  7. 24

    Bad, for me it’s startling that:

    “a notice of appeal will get such a bad rejection corrected lickety quick”

    A case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing, I suppose.

    Don’t you think your:

    “intentionally mislead”

    is a bit harsh though?

    Training a PTO Examiner is hugely expensive. My guess is that a high proportion of those issuing exam reports are simply not yet fully trained. The worst (and most costly) of the PTO’s many problems is the high “attrition” rate, no?

  8. 23

    @Max: Yes, I suspect the EPO will be a major beneficiary of the prevailing chaos in the USPTO. Our incompetence is your gain.

    I too appreciate the EPO’s PSA, but it is not the test for obviousness under KSR in the PTO. Bad Joke Ahead has the drill down pat. It’s ugly, and the BPAI is affirming these rejections almost 90% of the time. You might as well be speaking Martian to the USPTO.

    @Bad Joke: Yes, my experience is also that the PTO is letting Bilski slide with minor amendments. But read the court cases coming down in the wake of Bilski. The courts are not letting Bilski slide. It doesn’t help your client much to get them a patent that is going to be bounced on summary judgment as being directed to non-statutory subject matter.

  9. 22

    Ah, but there’s the problem Max: SLOWLY. That takes time which we all know is money. When did it become the attorney’s job to explain to the Examiner how the Office has intentionally mislead them on the law?

    We end up doing that, but it doesn’t make it right. Anecdotally, a notice of appeal will get such a bad rejection corrected lickety quick in my experience. No brief needed in 2/3 cases.

  10. 21

    Interesting comment from Bad. Looks like those USPTO Exrs are enthusiastically borrowing from the EPO, without having the faintest clue how to use their EPO-PSA tool correctly. I can well imagine your frustration.

    TIP: Grasp EPO-PSA, then explain it to the PTO Exr, preferably slowly, patiently, clearly and in words of one syllable. Then he will be able to see where you are right, and where he is going wrong. Allowance should then follow.

    This is not intended to be patronising. I can’t help it because I am such a fan of EPO-PSA (as regular readers know already).

  11. 20

    Interesting. I don’t have any trouble with Bilski really; I just draft around it.

    KSR. Well. “It’s obvious because it’s obvious.” Or, “It’s obvious because one skilled in the art would have been motivated to combine the X of A with the Y of B to get the Z of Applicant’s invention in order to ‘insert purpose of Applicant’s invention here’.” That is sometimes an issue. And a frustrating and expensive one at that.

  12. 19

    Well, Old Timer, I also am an old timer but you completely gasted my flabber when you wrote that patent law is a practice “in decline”.

    It is often said that “everything is relative” and I grant you that some aspects of the practice of patent law in the US jurisdiction might appear to be in decline. But that’s not at all what it looks like, everywhere else in the world. Here in Europe, there’s never been a better time to be practising patent law, and the competition to get into the patent attorney profession in Europe has never been greater.

    Mind you, outside the USA, the patent attorney is not an attorney at law. Patent attorneys (outside the USA) graduate as engineers or scientists, and continue to specialise, throughout their careers, in that small branch of technology that they have learned about at university. Yet they appear as advocates in specialised patents courts. There aren’t enough of them.

  13. 18

    >> OldTimer, I agree for my own reasons, but why are you saying that?

    ‘Cause I’m a grumpy old man, dammit.

    I think anybody who is practicing in patent law now has to recognize that this is a practice in decline. Between KSR and Bilsky not much is patentable anymore and between eBay and MedImmune you can’t do that much with the patents you manage to squeeze out of the patent office. You can’t shred the underlying legal landscape like this and expect that business is going to continue as usual.

    IMHO law students would be much better advised to go into another area of law that may utilize their technical background.

  14. 16

    If you are being honest with your students the best thing you could tell them right now is to get as far away from intellectual property law as possible. Attorneys with a tech background would be much better off in environmental law, FDA law, or telecommunications regulatory law than in IP law. Hell, they might be better off in PI law than IP law.

  15. 14

    These are some of the great opps for law students.
    This could be useful to many at our wiki website.
    If you have time, why not check it out and contribute. Hoping to see you there!

  16. 13

    How come no T14 school offers any of these IP programs?

    This fact makes these programs less credible and seem like really a way to just scam students out of more money.

  17. 11

    “The above was posted on the wrong thread…”

    Not sure any thread is suitable for that hogwash.

  18. 10

    University of Edinburgh (top 20th university internationally) offers an eLLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law that is quite good – although it is a lot of work. I believe it is also available for non-JD/LLB folks and can be done over 2 years.

    I took the summer program at FP when I was working full time at HP and going to law school nights. It’s a good program with lots of interesting classes you wouldn’t normally be exposed to. I thought it was a great augment to law school. Although I regretted the decision when I was studying for the Calbar (having substituted the Cal Bar classes for the IP classes)…until I passed the bar.

  19. 9

    Information justice? Political correctness is beyond me; it’s just become totally nonsensical now.

  20. 7

    “What I would like to see is an honest discussion about why it’s beneficial to society to discriminate against inventors of algorithms in the way the courts and the BPAI have done. This is particularly apposite since today we are celebrating the birthday of the great civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

    This is one of the more ignorant statements I’ve ever read on Patently-O, or one of the most cyncial. AI, please read the following excerpt from “Letters from a Birmingham Jail” and then explain to us how a comparison between King’s mission and yours is “apposite.” My apologies for the editing of King’s letter – the spam filter is a bit aggressive.

    But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen h@te filled policemen curse, kick and even ki11 your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negr0 brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “n—–,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negr0, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

  21. 4

    My question is not directly related to the post.

    I am curious to know if there is a way one can do LLM in IP law, without doing a JD/LLB.

    If yes, which colleges accept graduates from non-law background for LLM courses.

  22. 3

    I did FPLC’s program in China and it is something I will never forget. It was a wonderful experience.

  23. 2

    This is very positive and should be helpful to all the students out there. My nephew is graduating law school in 2 and 1/2 years from one of the top 33% law schools in the county. He primarily did it by going year round to summer school including a summer in spain studying international law.

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