Intellectual Property

Professor Ari Ezra Waldman

New York Law School

Intellectual property law focuses on protecting creativity and innovation. It is the law that protects everything from medicines to poems, from product designs to Rihanna's latest music video. It is the protection of intangible property. IP lawyers are in the room when movies, music videos, and television shows are made. They help make business decisions that affect what products companies sell and at what price. They are counselors to movie stars and entrepreneurs starting businesses in their garage. And, it's super fun!

Whether this is the first of many steps toward becoming an IP lawyer or a unique way to round out your legal education, you will find this doctrinal course dynamic, interesting, topical, and really cool. We will introduce the major aspects of the law governing the ownership of cultural artifacts, scientific creations, and other contributions to intellectual life: patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. We will also discuss some state laws used to protect IP. We won’t just read the cases; we will identify and challenge their assumptions. And we will apply what we learn to real-world cases.

We meet (almost) every Tuesday and Thursday, from 930am to 1045am in Room W320. Be present. Be on time. Be engaged. Have fun!

My email address is ari.waldman@nyls.edu. My office hours are Tuesdays, 2-3pm and Thursdays, 1-2pm. You can stop by or you can sign up for an appointment during office hours by emailing my assistant, Tamara Garland.

Course Goals

By the end of this semester, you should ...

  1. learn the basic law of trade secrets, patents, copyrights, and trademarks, so you have the tools to understand your clients' needs and/or continue with advanced study in IP,
  2. be able to notice and explain the differences and similarities among the intellectual property regimes,
  3. learn to summarize the relevant facts of cases, identify patterns among seemingly disparate cases, and continue to perfect a variety of lawyering skills, including legal writing, advocacy, negotiation, and dispute resolution, through in-class, practice-based activities,
  4. critically approach the ways in which current intellectual property regimes privilege entrenched interests and create burdens for marginalized populations,
  5. understand the impact of implicit biases in intellectual property law, and
  6. have fun!

Reading

Class Participation

Rules and Regulations

Lydia Pallas Loren and Joseph Scott Miller. Intellectual Property Law: Cases and Materials (V. 4.1).

This casebook is available online at Semaphore Press. Just click on "Intellectual Property Law: Cases and Materials." There is a newer version (V. 5.0), but we're not going to use that edition for various reasons. Just click through the process and when you get to the book page, just scroll down to Version 4.1. The casebook is cheap. It's online. It's great. The Semaphore Press business model is all about providing you with accessible text books for your legal education. You are invited to pay the basic cost ($30).

As the semester unfolds, I will also supplement, subtract, revise the readings based on our interests, the news, and our pace. I appreciate the flexibility and I hope you will too.

I have provided questions to guide your reading. You will find them on the next page. These are not assignments that you have to hand in; no one will see your answers save you, assuming you write them down. However, they may help focus your reading on the topics and skills we will discuss in class. You should not restrict yourself to answering these questions, but you may use them as guides.

Participation is essential for success in this class and in law school generally. I will rarely, if ever, just lecture to you. Class is a discussion among all members of our community, and you should come to class prepared to participate. In the event that there are either an insufficient number or an insufficient variety of volunteers, I will call on you at random. You needn't worry about being called on if you're prepared for class.


Being prepared for class means the following:

1. You did the reading ... of course. Sometimes (read: always), you read it more than once.

2. You reflected on the readings through the questions in the text.

3. You looked up any terms you didn't understand.

4. You completed any homework assignment.

5. You came to class with your readings annotated and your notes available.

Attendance

Attendance is mandatory, per New York Law School's attendance policy. Since this is a 3-credit class, you are entitled to 3 unexcused absences. More than 3 absences could result in a lower grade.

More importantly, class discussion is essential to understanding the material. Missing class puts you at a disadvantage.


Professionalism

We will maintain a courteous and professional learning environment. Professionalism means many things. For example, it means answering questions using appropriate tone and language. It means handing in assignments that reflect the same. Most importantly, it means treating everyone with respect. We are all in this together.

Professionalism also means not distracting your fellow students. Don't chat or engage in unrelated conversations. Do not use your laptop for anything other than taking notes. Trust me, I will know. Turn off your cell phone before class and do not use it during class.

Final Exam

I am trying something completely different for your final exam this year. Instead of my usual any-day, 8-hour take home exam, examples of which you find here and here, we are going to simulate real practice. About 3 weeks before the end of classes, I will hand out a prompt. You are to write a memo in response to that prompt using all the tools available to a real lawyer. You can do all the research you want on WestLaw or Lexis. You can discuss it with friends, advisers, more senior law students, practicing lawyers, judges, and the Prime Minister of Canada. You cannot discuss it with each other. You can use material we discussed in class or material you find anywhere else. The end product, however, must be exclusively yours.