Intellectual Property Law Survey

Professor Grimmelmann

University of Maryland

Fall 2012

First Assignemnt

Please read pages 1-44 in the casebook. In chapter 1, please focus on the facts, rather than on the details of the courts’ reasoning. State common-law misappropriation is a doctrinal backwater; it has been largely preempted by federal copyright law. Instead, we will use the cases as an opportunity to discuss the policies behind intellectual property; you should be prepared to debate who ought to win.

Our discussion of doctrine will commence in earnest with the material on trade secret in chapter 2.I.A, which I antitipate we will start toward the end of our first class and carry over into the second class.

About the Course


This is a survey course in intellectual property law. You will 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.


The caasebook for the class is Lydia Pallas Loren and Joseph Scott Miller. Intellectual Property Law: Cases and Materials (3rd ed. 2012). The book is published online as a PDF download by Semaphore Press. You will need the third edition.

One of the reasons I chose this casebook (although hardly the only one) is Semaphore Press’s fairer business model. By publishing online, they are able to keep costs much lower: the suggested price is $30, instead of the $150 or more you might pay for a comparable casebook from a major publisher. You receive a PDF that you can read on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. You can print out as much, or as little, as you need. If the copy you printed is damaged, you can print the missing pages again, as often as you need.

There is an important bargain here. The success of this business model depends on you. We are trusting you not to buy one copy and share it with all your friends. We are also asking you to pay the suggested price. If you think this bargain is a fair one, please help Semaphore help bring casebook prices down by doing your part.

A course supplement will be distributed in sections via Blackboard. There may also occasionally be late-breaking readings, which will be announced in class or via email, and will be distributed via Blackboard.

Class Meetings

We meet Mondays 4:20 to 6:20 and Wednesdays 5:25 to 6:20 in room 107. Note that the meeting times are uneven: 120 minutes on Monday and 55 minutes on Wednesday. There will be a break in the middle of the Monday class so we can all stretch, use the restroom, etc.

Class will combine analysis of the day’s assigned cases with discussion of the assigned problems from the course supplement. Note that the problems will be staggered so that you will typically have a chance to review them at home or with your classmates after we have discussed the corresponding cases in class. This gives you a chance to use what you have learned from the lectures when working on the problems. But it also requires that you be organized in keeping track of where we are in both the cases and the problems. I hope that this format will be useful to you in reinforcing important points and helping you review what we have covered.


Here are my policies about class:


There will be a course discussion board on Blackboard. Participation is optional but encouraged. I will read the board actively and engage with anything you would like to discuss. Here are a few thoughts about interesting topics:

It is more important to be thoughtful and respectful than it is to be right. An informal tone is fine, but keep it professional. You should not post anything that you would be embarrassed to have your employer read.


There will be a take-home final exam, which will be available from the start of exam period and due at the end. It will be open book and subject to a strict page limit. Your grade will be based principally on the final examination.


Office: Room 380
Phone: 212-431-2864
Email: jgrimmelmann at
Office Hours: Wednesdays, 2:30 to 4:00

Email is the best way to reach me and will generally lead to the fastest response.

My office hours are the times I reserve for student meetings, not the only times I am available. Appointments are recommended but not required. If my office hours are inconvenient for you, email me to set up another time or just drop by. If the door to my office is open, please feel free to come in.


I will do my best to post specific assignments here a few days in advance. Please be patient if the schedule requires revisions as we go. As of now, I anticipate that we will cover:

August 27

August 29

September 5

September 10

September 12

September 17

September 19

September 24

September 26

October 1

October 3

October 8

October 10

October 15

October 17

October 22

October 24


October 29

Hurricane Sandy

October 31

November 5

November 7

November 12

November 14

November 19

November 26

November 28

November 30

Final Exam