Master of Law in Intellectual Property and Technology Law

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  • Course description
    USF's LLM Program in Intellectual Property and Technology Law is open to students who have received a law degree from an American or foreign university. The program requires completion of 25 units over two consecutive full-time semesters of study at the USF School of Law (August through May). The program may also be completed through part-time study with permission of the director.

    The Intellecutal Property and Technology Law program provides a thorough exposure to American, international, and comparative intellectual property law. The program equips students with a sufficient grounding in legal theory and practical skills to pursue gainful employment in the intellectual property field in the United States or abroad.

    To this end, students pursuing the LLM degree are required to complete the Advanced Seminar in Intellectual Property, which includes extensive research and writing components. Students must also complete a minimum of six units of IP core courses (or show that they have satisfactorily completed equivalent courses at another law school). Students may allocate no more than three credits of non-IP course work toward the degree. Students must fulfill the remainder of the required 25-units by taking approved elective courses listed in the IP curriculum.

    In addition, all international LLM students who have not received a degree from a U.S. university are required to take The American Legal System courses, which meet weekly in a small class and include visits to San Francisco courtrooms and other events.

    The Intellectual Property and Technology Law Program begins with an orientation week for foreign students. Foreign students will begin the American Legal System courses and become acquainted with the law school, law library, computer center, and other university facilities. During orientation foreign students will also be instructed in basic research skills, meet with the program director to finalize their course of study, complete registration, and explore San Francisco with other LLM students. Some assistance is provided for locating permanent living accommodations and answering visa questions.

    Students in the IP Program must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 25, and not more than 30, course units of credit, including an advanced seminar in intellectual property and a minimum of six credits in IP core courses.

    Required Courses     Units

    American Legal Systems I and II (Foreign Students Only)     3

    (2 credits fall, 1 credit spring). Required for all LLM students who have not received a prior degree from an American law school. This course begins with an overview of the U.S. Constitution, the structure of the federal government, and federal and state judicial systems. Special emphasis is given to the relation between state and federal courts and the selection and function of American judges and juries. Classes are punctuated with visits to San Francisco courtrooms. Selected judicial interpretations of constitutional law and contract law are discussed. The course includes a legal research and writing component.

    Intellectual Property Seminar     3

    This seminar permits students to specialize in intellectual property by preparation of a paper and seminar discussion. Topic papers include advanced issues in all aspects of intellectual property law, from technical subjects such as patent and trade secret issues in computer programs and biotechnology to trademark and unfair competition issues in marketing to entertainment law issues in the rights of publicity and privacy. Prerequisites: Students must complete either Copyright Law, Cyberspace Law, Intellectual Property Survey, Patent Law, or Trademark Law.

    Core Courses     

    Copyright Law     3

    A survey of the exclusive property rights given to authors, artists, designers, computer program writers, composers, and performers under federal and state law. Emphasis is placed on the ability to advise both creators and users of data, information, and creative works. Coverage is also given to related rights, such as moral rights and the right of publicity.

    Cyberspace Law     3

    This course studies the emerging body of law relating to cyberspace, focusing on the internet and online services. The course considers how to adapt law to cyberspace, looking at case law, statutes, and other methods of regulation. Topics include jurisdiction, computer crime, electronic privacy and encryption, free speech in cyberspace (including online indecency), online torts (including spam and defamation), and intellectual property in cyberspace. While prior exposure to cyberspace is helpful, no special expertise is required.

    Intellectual Property Survey     3

    A survey of rights under U.S. state and federal law for the protection of new technology and inventions (trade secrets and patents), business symbols and literary titles (trademarks), and industrial design (design patents), and rights in works of authorship (copyrights). While the course focuses on American law, it will also introduce students to various aspects of international intellectual property law. It is highly recommended that this course be taken as a foundation for the advanced study of intellectual property.

    Trademark Law     3

    This course will examine, in detail, the major areas of trademark law, including, the trademark registration process at the United States Patent and Trademark Office as well as the basic rules regarding eligibility for trademark protection under traditional trademark infringement doctrines and under dilution law. The course will also examine a number of defenses to trademark rights, including fair use, generic use, non- commercial use, and First Amendment Protections. The course will also cover various aspects of domain name law, including the Anti-Cyber Squatting Protection Act and the dispute resolution processes promulgated by the ICANN. Finally, the course will examine selected areas of international trademark law, including the specific rules that govern geographical indicators that exist in many foreign countries.

    Patent Law     3

    An introductory patent law course which focuses on the fundamentals of patent law; patent infringement and patent damages; patent validity issues such as anticipation, obviousness, enablement, and best mode; and equitable aspects of patent enforcement, including the defense of inequitable conduct. Technical training is not required.

    Elective Courses     

    Antitrust     3

    A study of federal and state laws promoting a free market economy. The course also considers some aspects of the competition laws in their international application including the laws of jurisdictions outside the U.S. The focus is on legal prohibitions against price fixing combinations, restraints of trade, monopolization of markets, and anti-competitive mergers. The main laws studied are the federal Sherman Act, Clayton Act, and Federal Trade Commission Act. Emphasis is placed on the ability to evaluate the antitrust risks present in proposed business and marketing plans.

    Art Law     2

    This course covers contemporary legal, ethical, and public policy issues that involve visual artists (primarily painters and sculptors) and art collectors, dealers, auction houses, and museums. It explores diverse issues comprising a broad area of legal practice including, where appropriate, comparisons with laws of other countries. The focus is on artists' continuing rights in works; the application of intellectual property laws to visual art; how theft, forgery, and contracts affect the art market; regulation of the art market; and government subsidy and control of art. When time allows, the course also looks at museum administration, protection of national art treasures, and international cultural property issues.

    Biotechnology Law     2

    An overview of intellectual property and regulatory issues impacting the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Basic principles of licensing, litigation, and international law will also be discussed. The course focuses on the impact of the legal system on research, products, and intellectual property for companies and institutions. Consideration is given to how legal issues promote or hinder the development of technology, what role ethics and public health concerns should play in the law, and whether a "one size fits all" patent law make sense for biotechnology. A prior course in intellectual property law or some life science background is helpful but not required.

    Entertainment Law     2

    A study of legal and business issues that arise in the creation, distribution, and sale of products and services in the music, radio, television, news media, publishing, theater, and movie industries. Coverage includes components on sex and violence in entertainment and the law, privacy rights and defamation issues, celebrity rights, fair use, the implications of technological innovations on intellectual property in entertainment, artistic credit and control, and emerging issues in the creation and digital distribution of content. Prerequisite: Copyright Law, or Intellectual Property Survey.

    Expert Evidence in IP Litigation     3

    This course examines evidentiary issues of importance to intellectual property litigators. Emphasis is on considerations of what evidence to present and how best to present it to judges and jurors. Prerequisite: Evidence.

    Information Privacy Law     3

    This course examines the legal protection of privacy. It explores the interaction of common law, constitutional law, and the patchwork of statutes that endeavor to protect privacy. Topics will include tort privacy claims, privacy of medical information, privacy and law enforcement, privacy and computerized records, and privacy at work.

    International Business Transactions     3

    This course examines the legal issues that arise when business dealings span different nations. The course begins with a discussion of the environment of international business, including an introduction to international trade law, the world economic environment, and international tax issues. Next, a series of representative transactions are explored, including export sales, agency and distributorship, licensing, joint ventures, and other strategic agreements.

    International Economic Relations     3

    This course examines the legal structure of the international trade system. It considers the United States Customs and trade laws and policies impact on International trade. The impacts of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the movement of good within the European community. It reviews the impact of tariffs and trade policies on the free movement of goods.

    International Intellectual Property     2

    This course is designed to prepare students for transactional work and litigation in an international IP practice with an understanding of some of the economic and cultural issues underlying IP law in other parts of the world. The course covers patents, trademarks, copyrights, unfair competition, and trade secrets in the context of foreign laws and international agreements and treaties.

    Patent Licensing     2

    This seminar examines the basic elements of patent licensing transactions and is designed to provide the background needed to structure, draft, and negotiate patent licenses as well as limited purpose agreements including employment, consulting, confidentiality, and material transfer agreements. Students complete a series of assignments that will involve drafting several agreements. Prerequisite: Patent Law.

    Patent Litigation     3

    This course will focus on issues that must be dealt with in the course of evaluating for and preparing to enforce intellectual property rights through litigation. Procedural issues directed to discovery and litigation strategy as well as substantive issues directed to discovery, claim construction, defenses, and damage theories will be evaluated in detail. Motion practice and Federal Circuit precedence as to issues typically addressed by way of summary judgment will also be discussed. Prerequisite: Patent Law.

    Telecommunications and Electronic Media Law     3

    This course examines federal regulation of 1) electronic media including cable television, broadcast television, Direct Broadcast Satellite service, and radio, and 2) telecommunications including wireline, wireless, broadband, and Internet services. Electronic media topics address radio spectrum issues, license assignment, indecency, violence on TV, public trustee obligations, digital TV, and various "must carry" rules. Telecommunications topics will cover the 1996 Telecommunications Act, "Universal Service," information services (i.e., broadband DSL and cable modem services), VoIP, and cellular issues. Some state regulation will also be considered.

    Transactional Trademark Practice

    In depth focus on trademark selection and clearance, registration, and counseling. Issues to be discussed and studied include trademark licensing, counterfeit and parallel goods issues, and administrative litigation with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Students will work in teams that will analyze corporate trademark issues; teams will be required to present and write reports on corporate trademark issues throughout the semester. Emphasis will be on developing creative and strategic solutions to trademark matters. A final paper is also due at the end of the semester. Prerequisite: Intellectual Property Survey (recommended).

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