»  Updates

Note: This is the webpage for a class from the past that has ended. Information about current classes is available here.

Exam questions: I am posting questions I’ve received about the final exam, and my responses, here.

Instructions for the final exam: I have posted the instructions for the final exam here.

Sample midterms: I have posted three sample graded midterms here, here, and here.

Midterm exam: I have posted a copy of the midterm exam here and a memo discussing the exams here. Graded exams are available for pickup from the Registrar’s office.

Instructions for the midterm exam: I have posted the instructions for the midterm exam here. We will discuss them in class on Friday, March 6.

Makeup class: We will be holding a class on IP research on Wednesday, February 18, from 3:00 to 4:30 pm, in Room 282. There is no assignment for this class.

Midterm exam: The take-home midterm will be distributed on Monday, March 9, and due on Monday, March 16. It will be a short exam, with strict word and time limits; I’ve given you a week to complete the exam to provide flexibility.

»  Overview

Intellectual property is the primary means by which the law promotes and protects investment in intangible assets like new inventions, writings and other creative expressions, and branding and other commercial indicators. Intellectual property has become one of the most important components of the economy, playing critical roles in industries as diverse as entertainment, pharmaceuticals, information technology, and even fine wines and cheeses. This course introduces the basic concepts and doctrines of intellectual property. It surveys the major regimes of intellectual-property rights, including copyright, trademark, trade-secret, patent, false-advertising, and privacy laws. The course also considers the normative cases for and against intellectual property and the challenges to intellectual-property laws posed by technological change. No technical background or expertise is necessary.

»  Class meetings and office hours

We will meet on Tuesdays (from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.) and Fridays (from 10:30 a.m. to noon) in room 205. On a few occasions, I will need to cancel class because of a conflict; we will make up those classes at a time TBA, likely on Thursdays.

Outside of class, I don’t have set office hours, but you are always free to stop by my office (room 281) and chat. I will be in the office most days (afternoons are more likely than mornings). To set up a specific time to talk, please email me at roger.ford@nulllaw.unh.edu.

»  Materials

The casebook is Loren & Miller, Intellectual Property Law: Cases & Materials (version 3.2, 2014). The book is available as a name-your-own-price downloadable PDF from Semaphore Press. Semaphore Press uses a publishing model that differs from that used by traditional casebook publishers, which you can read about on their website. The authors suggest a price of $30, which they (and I) think is fair, especially compared to the $200+ prices of traditional casebooks. No printed copy is available, but you are free to read electronically or print out the PDF. Note that there is a separate chapter on the right of publicity, which you will need to download individually, as it is not included with the PDF of the book.

Beside the casebook, you will need an up-to-date copy of the various federal statutes. One good (and free!) source is this supplement put together by the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University. If you’d like a paper copy, Amazon sells one for about $9.

In addition to the casebook and the statutes, I will post occasional readings and assignments on this site. I will not be using TWEN or Blackboard.

Finally, if you’re interested in a study guide or hornbook (though one is by no means required for the class), I have heard good things about Chisum, Ochoa, Ghosh, and LaFrance’s Understanding Intellectual Property Law. It’s about $44 on Amazon, or $21 for the Kindle edition.

»  Attendance, participation, and evaluation

Regular attendance is required, and under the standard ABA rules, you may be barred from taking the examination and receiving credit for the course if you miss more than 20% of class sessions. Attendance will be taken by sign-in sheet, and signing in for someone else is, as always, academic misconduct. An occasional absence is fine, but if you are going to miss multiple classes we need to discuss it in advance.

I expect you to come to class prepared, having read and considered the assigned materials. I will call on students to ensure broad participation; you are also welcome—nay, encouraged—to volunteer responses, questions, and comments. It is acceptable to be occasionally unprepared for class, but you must email me before class to let me know, so that I can avoid calling on you.

Your course grade will be based on three components: a short take-home midterm exam (20%); a final exam (60%); and class participation, discussion, and occasional short exercises (20%). The midterm exam will occur in early March and will cover the trade-secret and patent units of the course. The final exam will be comprehensive. For the participation component, everyone will start with full credit; I will subtract points if you are unprepared or absent, and add them for especially helpful or insightful participation.

»  Competencies

In 2013, the faculty approved a list of competencies that are important to the practice of law. For a list of those competencies, indicating which will be covered in this class, click here.

»  Schedule and reading assignments

The following list of reading assignments is tentative and subject to change over the course of the semester. We will cover approximately one assignment per day. “L&M” refers to the Loren & Miller casebook.

  1. Introduction. L&M 1–27.
  2. Trade secrets: Defining trade secrets. L&M 29–52.
  3. Trade secrets: Misappropriation and internet disclosure. L&M 52–68 & 77–86.
  4. Trade secrets: Inevitable disclosure and noncompete agreements. L&M 86–101 & 108–120.
  5. Patents: Introduction, disclosure requirements, and the patent bargain. L&M 120–132 (for background); L&M 142–157; 35 U.S.C. § 112. [slides]
  6. Patents: Novelty and statutory bars. L&M 191–217 & 225–227; 35 U.S.C. § 102. [slides]
  7. Patents: Nonobviousness. L&M 227–251; 35 U.S.C. § 103.
  8. Patents: Patentable subject matter and utility. L&M 157–191; 35 U.S.C. § 101.
  9. IP research and information literacy. No assignment.
  10. Patents: Claim construction. L&M 132–142; Teva v. Sandoz assignment; review 35 U.S.C. § 112.
  11. Patents: Infringement. L&M 251–280; 35 U.S.C. § 271 (skip § 271(e)).
  12. Patents: Design patents. L&M 307–345.
  13. Copyright: Copyrightable subject matter I. L&M 347–369; 17 U.S.C. §§ 102–103 and relevant definitions from § 101.
  14. Copyright: Copyrightable subject matter II. L&M 369–386.
  15. Copyright: Authorship and obtaining a copyright. L&M 386–413.
  16. Copyright: Exclusive rights. L&M 413–444; 17 U.S.C. §§ 106 & 106A.
  17. Copyright: Fair use. L&M 444–466; 17 U.S.C. § 107.
  18. Copyright: Fair use and new technologies. L&M 467–490.
  19. Copyright: Secondary liability and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. L&M 490–520; skim 17 U.S.C. § 512(a)–(d).
  20. Trademarks: Introduction and obtaining trademark rights. L&M 549–570.
  21. Trademarks: Rights to devices and trade dress. L&M 570–595.
  22. Trademarks: Infringement and counterfeiting. L&M 595–624.
  23. Trademarks: Dilution. L&M 624–650.
  24. Trademarks: Comparative advertising, fair use, and other defenses. L&M 650–681.
  25. Review.