This course provides an introduction to copyright, trademark, and (to a lesser extent) patent law and trade secrecy. It does not require a technical background of any kind. The course begins with an introduction to some of the theoretical and practical problems which an intellectual property regime must attempt to resolve; during this section, basic concepts of the economics of information and of the First Amendment analysis of intellectual property rights will be examined through a number of case-studies. The class will then turn to the law of trademark, copyright, and patent with a particular emphasis on copyright, developing the basic doctrinal frameworks and discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each. We will focus in particular on a number of areas where the theoretical tools developed at the beginning of the class can be applied to actual problems involving a full panoply of intellectual property rights; these areas include intellectual property on the Internet, the constitutional limits on intellectual property, and innovation, monopoly and competition in the technology sector. The overall theme of the course is that intellectual property is the legal form of the information age and thus that it is important not only for its enormous and increasing role in commercial life and legal practice, but also for its effects on technological innovation, democratic debate, and cultural formation. Much of our doctrinal work will be centered around a series of problems which help students build skills and learn the law in a highly interactive setting. Experience last semester suggests that this translates well to virtual teaching. You can also download the casebook for the class here – for free – to give you a sense of the topics that are covered.
|Course Areas of Practice|
Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law