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.