University of New Hampshire

School of Law

JD Curriculum – Electives: Intellectual Property

Beginning in the second semester of their first year, University of New Hampshire School of Law students with an interest in intellectual property (IP) are offered many course opportunities. During each year, more than 30 separate IP or IP-related courses are consistently offered (ranging from some running in both the Fall and Spring semesters, to some for fewer credits in the Summer). This curricular advice is intended to help students interested in pursuing an IP specialty to choose among them. Students have extensive curricular opportunities without compromising their needs for general legal education and bar preparation. The first-year curriculum, comprising mostly basic bar courses, permits one spring elective. Those interested in an IP-related career should elect Fundamentals of IP in either the second or third semester. It not only integrates the broad spectrum of IP subject matter, but it also relates to subjects such as torts, civil procedure, property, contracts, remedies and constitutional law.

Before graduating, students must take a number of upper-level required courses, including one of several advanced writing courses. It is worth noting that several IP electives satisfy the Upper Level Writing Requirement (e.g., Advanced Topics in Trademark Law, Patent Application Preparation & Prosecution, and Patent Practice II). Even if students are determined to specialize in IP, however, they are strongly urged to pay particular attention to semi-optional bar courses such as Business Associations, Evidence, Family Law, Commercial Law, Personal Tax, Remedies, and Wills, Trusts and Estates. If nothing else, some may be prerequisites to other electives of interest.

Yet even with all the aforementioned courses included, students who choose to graduate with only the 85 credits will still have more than 20 elective credits available to fill. By taking 16 credits in each of the last four semesters, more than 30 elective credits will be available. Moreover, since students have limited employment options between their first and second years, many enroll in summer school. Those who do can easily acquire 97 credits total and earn the unique and well-regarded Master of Laws in Intellectual Property.

Students should note that almost all of UNH School of Law's IP courses are complementary to one another, and to whichever area of IP specialization (e.g., patent, trademark, copyright) is pursued. Many of the IP courses also deal with “real world” situations and offer “hands on” experience, including licensing, IP management and litigation scenarios.

Patent Law

Among the possible types of IP careers, patent law is unique. The value of patents, whether covering the equivalent of a square inch of Arctic tundra or a square mile of Manhattan, is primarily determined by the scope of claims granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Narrow claims are of little use if they can be evaded, but claims that are too broad are invalid. Obtaining adequate claims is thus important work, but a PTO bar examination is needed. Candidates also must have acceptable technical credentials before they can sit for that exam. Except for practicing before the PTO, the patent bar is not required. Still, opportunities to negotiate and draft licenses, sue infringers, and advise on ways to protect trade secrets, not to mention file appeals from the PTO, are limited for anyone who has not passed the PTO exam.

Patent practice opportunities are perhaps even more influenced by particular technical backgrounds. Students should investigate employment prospects for lawyers in their specialties before making major investments in patent courses, much less trying to sit for the PTO exam. However, anyone’s prospects would be strengthened by the solid set of courses that uniquely qualify UNH School of Law graduates. Courses of particular interest include Patent Law and Patent Practice I and II.

Additional important electives would include Antitrust, IP Management, Technology Licensing, and IP and International Trade. Students should be able to take all of those courses, Fundamentals of IP, all bar courses mentioned earlier, as well as the IP-related upper level writing and other required courses and still graduate with approximately 85 credits. Depending on backgrounds, students may also find Copyright Law, for example, helpful. Students who elect to graduate with more than the minimum credit requirement would naturally have little difficulty electing several such courses, as well as advanced business and litigation courses, clinics, externships, moot court and journals.

Essential Courses

  • Fundamentals of Intellectual Property
  • Patent Practice I
  • Patent Practice II
  • Patent Law

Recommended

  • Technology Licensing
  • IP and International Trade
  • Antitrust
  • Federal Courts

Useful

  • Copyright
  • Trademarks
  • Technology Transfer Tax
  • Advanced Patent Litigation
  • IP Management
  • Environmental Law
  • Law and Biotech

Practical Skills

  • Patent Practice I
  • IP and Transaction Clinic
  • Technology Licensing
  • Negotiations Workshop
  • Mining Patent Information
  • International Technology Transfer Institute Clinic

Related Upper-Level Writing Courses

  • Patent Practice II
  • Patent Application Preparation & Prosecution

Trademark Law

Because source identifiers are hard to avoid, trademark law offers a variety of career opportunities. Many organizations possess trade secrets, patents and copyrights, but most (whether charitable or commercial) also need to protect their unique identities. Further, patents and copyrights expire, and trade secrets can become common knowledge, but marks often become only more valuable over time.

Lawyers are needed to acquire and maintain PTO and, to a lesser extent, state trademark registrations. They also litigate to prevent the use of confusingly similar marks, draft licenses, pursue cyber squatters and counterfeiters, and educate the media and the public on the correct use of marks. Trademark lawyers also increasingly register and otherwise protect domain names.

A student who has taken Fundamentals of IP will find Trademarks and Deceptive Practices to lay the foundation for Inter Partes Practice before the USPTO, Advanced Topics in Trademark Law and Federal Trademark and Copyright Registration Practice.

Other courses of potential interest include Antitrust, IP and Transaction Clinic, IP Management, Technology Licensing, Valuation of IP, Advanced Topics in IP, IP and International Trade. Students interested in trademarks can easily fit all of those courses into their schedules. Those opting to graduate with more than 85 credits could also choose among, for example, advanced business and litigation courses relevant to their backgrounds and career objectives. Such students will also have expanded opportunities to differentiate themselves by participating in externships, moot court and journals.

Essential Courses

  • Fundamentals of Intellectual Property
  • Trademarks
  • Copyright
  • Antitrust

Recommended

  • Federal Trademark & Copyright Registration Practice
  • Federal Courts
  • Advanced Topics in Trademarks

Related

  • Technology Licensing
  • Intellectual Property Management
  • Inter Partes Practice Before the USPTO
  • Valuation of IP
  • IP & International Trade
  • Advanced Topics in IP

Practical Skills

  • Technology Licensing
  • IP and Transaction Clinic

Related Upper-Level Writing Courses

  • Advanced Topics in Trademarks
  • Remedies

Copyright Law

Expanding duplication and distribution methods – especially ones related to digital technology and online transmission – have generated considerable public attention and alerted most people to the importance of copyright protection. Copyright protects works ranging from books, music, and motion pictures to computer software from unauthorized copying, adaptation, distribution, and public performance. Unlike patent law, relatively few lawyers specialize in copyright licensing and infringement litigation. Yet, copyright law potentially affects many individuals and businesses, as well as nonprofit organizations such as schools. Further, many law firms and corporations maintain both IP litigation and transactional practices.

Because, as with trademarks, no particular background is needed for copyright practice, students seeking work in that area should take advantage of any pre-law experience, get a good grounding in business law and take full advantage of UNH School of Law’s offerings. Both Fundamentals of IP and Copyright Law lay the foundation for electives such as Current Issues in Copyright Practice, Advanced Topics in IP, and Copyright Licensing. Those courses also complement the Technology Licensing course.

Suggestions at the end of the prior trademark discussion as well as most of the following discussion of cyberlaw, sports and entertainment law also warrant the attention of students wishing to study copyright law.

Related Areas: Cyberlaw, Entertainment and Sports

The advent of the so-called “Information Age” and the “Digital Economy” has created new career opportunities for IP lawyers. Although, unlike patent law, it is not currently essential to have taken courses in cyberlaw or e-Commerce to practice in these areas, students who are interested in pursuing a career doing such work are strongly advised to take those courses. Even if a student has no definite plan to become a technology lawyer, the nature of IP practice is such that some knowledge in these cutting-edge fields, coupled with a solid grounding in traditional IP, would provide the student with a broad and flexible background in modern IP law and practice.

Courses in these areas currently offered by UNH School of Law include Cybercrime, and e-Commerce and the Law. Students interested in technology and cyberlaw should also consider at least one licensing course and relevant business law courses. Several other practice areas straddle or closely parallel copyrights and trademarks. Emerging rights of publicity, for example, discussed from differing perspectives in Fundamentals of IP and several other courses, enable well-known entertainers and sports stars to sometimes earn more from endorsements than from activities that made them famous.

Merchandising is also big business. Thus, for example, besides negotiating broadcast rights for competitive events, sports organizations generate important income by licensing use of their names and logos. In the entertainment industry, it has been noted that the advertising budget for licensed items based on Jurassic Park was three times the advertising budget for the movie itself.

Students with strong interests in such areas should select both copyright- and trademark-related courses. Beyond the basic courses, they should be alert to the availability of courses such as Sports Law, as well as to employment, family, and tax law.

Whatever their specific interest in IP, students should have no difficulty putting 15 or more immediately relevant credits on their transcripts. And those can be supplemented, as previously mentioned, with work on journals, moot courts, externships and the like. Generic advice is necessarily limited by diversity in pre-law employment and education, as well as by diversity in career and other objectives. Students determined to get the most from UNH School of Law’s IP offerings should consult as many sources as possible. Among these are Career Services, practicing lawyers, and faculty who teach courses being considered, as well as students who have already completed them. There are also numerous online resources offering information about IP organizations, jobs and placements.

Joining the Student IP Law Association or the local student chapter of the Licensing Executives Society can also be useful for meeting and exchanging ideas and information with classmates and more senior students. Taking an active role in such organizations also enhances opportunities to network with, and learn from, practicing attorneys. Depending on individual interests, the American Bar Association IP Section, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the Copyright Society, the Federal Circuit Bar Association, and the International Trademark Association should all be considered with such ends in mind. Most, if not all, professional organizations have reduced rates for students. Some have job fairs and otherwise assist in finding jobs. All host meetings where students can verify their competence as well as engage in networking. Finally, electronic and print publications of professional organizations also convey a good sense of topics, cases and issues of current interest to IP practitioners – things very helpful to know before sending out resumes or when preparing for job interviews.

Essential Courses

  • Fundamentals of Intellectual Property
  • Copyright

Recommended For All

  • Trademarks
  • First Amendment Law

Recommended for Information Technology Emphasis

  • Antitrust

Recommended for Sports or Entertainment Emphasis

  • Sports Law I
  • Sports Law II
  • Personal Tax
  • Estate Planning

Related To All

  • Antitrust
  • Valuation of IP

Related to Information Technology Emphasis

  • e-Commerce and the Law
  • Cybercrime
  • Patent Law

Related to Sports or Entertainment Emphasis

  • First Amendment Law

Practical Skills

  • Copyright Licensing
  • Negotiation Workshop
  • IP and Transactional Clinic
Search terms must contain 3 or more characters.