»  Updates

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

Last year’s final exam: I have posted last year’s final exam here, and my grading rubric for the exam here.

Midterm exam: The take-home midterm exam is here. Exam responses are due at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, 2016.

Patent-research exercise: The patent-research exercise is here. Please complete the exercise by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23, 2016.

»  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, office hours, and teaching assistant

We will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in room 205. If we need to cancel any classes due to weather or other reasons, we will make up those classes at times announced in class and on this site, most likely on Tuesdays or 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.

The teaching assistant for the class is Christian Hans. He will host periodic review sessions; more information about those sessions will be announced in class. He is also available to meet outside of class; email him at csh1000@nullunhlaw.unh.edu to set up a time.

»  Materials

The casebook is Loren & Miller, Intellectual Property Law: Cases & Materials (version 4.0, 2015). 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 $12.

In addition to the casebook and the statutes, I will post occasional readings and assignments on this site. I will not be using My Courses, 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 $49 on Amazon.

»  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 please let me know in advance (by noon the day of class) so I can avoid calling on you.

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 as with absences, you must email me (by noon the day of class) to let me know.

Your course grade will be based on three components: a short take-home midterm exam (20%); a take-home 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. This syllabus; L&M 1–27.
  2. Trade secrets: Defining trade secrets. L&M 29–52.
  3. Trade secrets: Maintaining secrecy; misappropriation. L&M 52–70, 73–80. [slides]
  4. Trade secrets: Inevitable disclosure; noncompete agreements. L&M 80–108.
  5. Patents: Introduction, disclosure requirements, and the patent bargain. L&M 109–123 (for background); L&M 145–148; Wyeth handout; 35 U.S.C. § 112. [slides]
  6. Patents: Novelty and statutory bars. L&M 176–202 & 209–211; 35 U.S.C. § 102. [slides]
  7. Patents: Nonobviousness. L&M 212–236; 35 U.S.C. § 103.
  8. Patents: Patentable subject matter and utility. L&M 148–176; 35 U.S.C. § 101.
  9. Patents: Claim construction and definiteness. L&M 123–145; review 35 U.S.C. § 112.
  10. Patents: Design patents. L&M 263–295. [recap] [slides]
  11. Patents: Infringement. L&M 236–262; 35 U.S.C. § 271 (skip § 271(e)).
  12. Copyright: Copyrightable subject matter I. L&M 297–314; 17 U.S.C. §§ 102–103 and relevant definitions from § 101. [slides]
  13. Copyright: Copyrightable subject matter II. L&M 314–335.
  14. Copyright: Owning and maintaining a copyright. L&M 335–353. [slides]
  15. Copyright: Exclusive rights. L&M 353–390; 17 U.S.C. §§ 106 & 106A.
  16. Copyright: Fair use I. L&M 390–415; 17 U.S.C. § 107.
  17. Copyright: Fair use II. L&M 415–426.
  18. Copyright: Secondary liability and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. L&M 426–453; skim 17 U.S.C. § 512(a)–(d).
  19. Trademarks: Introduction and obtaining trademark rights. L&M 461–485.
  20. Trademarks: Rights to devices and trade dress. L&M 485–510. [slides]
  21. Trademarks: Infringement. L&M 510–545.
  22. Trademarks: Dilution. L&M 545–567. [slides]
  23. Trademarks: Comparative advertising, fair use, and other defenses. L&M 567–598. [slides]