Intellectual Property

Professor Grimmelmann

New York Law School

Spring 2008

About the Course


This is a survey course in intellectual property law. You’ll learn the basic doctrines of the three major federal IP regimes—patent, copyright, and trademark—along with a taste of related state law, primarily trade secret. You’ll also learn the main theories underlying IP policy and encounter major debates about where IP law ought to go.

Class Meetings

We meet Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7:50-9:05 in room A700

Here’s what I expect from you in class:


You will need:

Note that we will be using the revised fourth edition. If you get the plain old fourth edition, you’ll need to print out your own copies of the newest cases. The third and earlier editions are too old; don’t use one of them. You can use this conversion chart to go back and forth between the fourth edition and the revised fourth edition. We’ll spend class time discussing some of the most interesting and hlpful problems from the casebook. Where the syllabus specifically asssigns a problem, you should come to class ready to comment intelligently on how you would answer it and why.


There will be a 3-hour open-book final exam subject to the usual NYLS examination policies. You are responsible for anything in the readings or discussed in class, with the emphasis on what has been discussed in class. I may adjust your grade by one third up or down for class participation. I consider good class participation to be anything that helps your classmates learn. NYLS has a blind-grading policy: I won’t know who wrote which exam until after I submit your grades.

Course Web Page

This syllabus is at As the semester progresses, I’ll post updates to it here.


Office: Room 706D, 40 Worth St. Phone: (212) 431-2864 Email: jgrimmelmann (at nyls) Please put “IP course” somewhere in the subject line of any course-related email to me so that I can give it proper attention quickly.



January 15: Course Logistics, Theory, History

Part I: Trade Secret and Idea Submission (4 classes)

January 17: Trade Secrets

January 22: No class (legislative Monday)

January 24: Misappropriation

January 29: Confidential Relationships

January 31: Contract, Idea Submissions

Part II : Patent (7 classes)

February 5: Overview

February 7: Statutory Subject Matter, Utiliy

February 12: Disclosure, Novelty

February 14: Statutory Bars, Priority

February 19: Nonobviousness

February 21: Claim Construction, Literal Infringement

February 26: Infringement by Equivalents, Secondary Liability

February 28: Introduction, Requirements

March 4: Subject Matter

March 6: Ownership, Duration

March 11: The Reproduction Right

March 13: Other Exclusive Rights, Fair Use

Class will not meet today. Instead, please listen to the audio version of the day’s lecture.

March 25: Fair Use Cnt’d

March 27: Secondary Liability, Digital Copyright


April 1: Right of Publicity

Part IV: Trademark (7 classes)

April 3: Introduction, Distinctiveness, Priority

April 8: Subject Matter, Trade Dress and Product Configuration

April 10: Registration

April 15: Infringement

April 17: Dilution, Merchandising, False Advertising

April 22: Cybersquatting, Genericide

April 24: Other Defenses


April 29: Remedies

Final Exam