Intellectual Property Law Survey
University of Maryland
For the first day of class, please read chapters 1 (introduction) and 2.A (trade secrets) from the coursepack. Be prepared to discuss both the cases and the problems.
This course covers the basic doctrines of the major federal and state intellectual property regimes, including patent, trade secret, copyright, trademark, false advertising, and publicity rights. The coverage is broad rather than deep; the course provides an introduction to the essentials of intellectual property for students entering all areas of practice. The overlap with advanced courses in intellectual property is minimal. No technical background is required, as most fields of intellectual property are non-technical.
The course will ask and answer common questions for each distinct type of intellectual property:
- What kinds of things, or subject matter does it apply to?
- What procedures must one follow to secure protection?
- Who is an owner of the relevant rights?
- What activities constitute prohitibited infringement?
- How do we assess whether something is so similar as to infringe?
- What defenses protect defendants’ freedoms to create and to compete?
- What are the distinctive procedural and remedial aspects of IP litigation?
You will need the following:
- Casebook: Lydia Pallas Loren and Joseph Scott Miller, Intellectual Property Law: Cases & Materials (ver. 3.2, 2014). The book is available as a pay-what-you-want PDF download from Semaphore Press. The suggested price is $30, which the authors (and I) believe is a fair casebook price, especially when compared to books from the major publishers, which can run to $200 or more. You are free to read the book on your computer or other device, or to print it out, as is conveneient for you. Note that you will also need to download Chapter 8 (on the right of publicity) separately, as it is not included with the PDF of the rest of the book.
- Statutory supplement: You are free to use any other up-to-date (as of mid-2014) supplement that includes the Patent Act, the Copyright Act, and the Lanham (trademark) Act. I highly recommend the attractively formatted (and free!) supplement compiled by James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins and made available as a free download. If you prefer a printed version, Amazon sells one for a list price of $11.
- Coursepack: The coursepack (5.6MB PDF) lists the readings from the casebook and statutory supplement. It is broken down into self-contained section; when a section is assigned, you should read the entire section together. Be warned that the sections are not all of equal length.
We meet Tuesdays 9:50 to 11:50 and Thursdays 9:50 to 10:45 in room 107. Note that the meeting times are uneven: 120 minutes on Monday and 55 minutes on Tuesday. (The second hour on Thursdays will be used for the Drafting add-on.) There will be a break in the middle of the Tuesdays class so we can all stretch, use the restroom, etc. Because we meet on back-to-back days, I will provide reading assignments in weekly, rather than daily, sets.
Our coverage of each topic will generally follow a common pattern. First, I will give a concise lecture on the black-letter doctrines and the policies behind them. Then we will discuss the related case or cases, with an emphasis on the factual details and the problems that lawyers confront applying the black-letter doctrines to those facts. Finally, we will discuss the related problems, allowing you to try your hand at applying the law yourself.
Office: Room 231
Phone: (410) 706-7260
Email: jgrimmelmann at law.umaryland.edu
Office hours: Wednesdays, 9:30 to 11:00 AM
Email is the best way to reach me and will generally lead to the fastest response.
All dates are approximate and subject to revision as we proceed.
- August 26: Coursepack §§ 1 (introduction), 2.A (trade secret ownership)
- August 28: Coursepack § 2.B (trade secret infringement)
- September 2: Coursepack §§ 3.A (patent introduction), 3.B.i (subject matter)
- September 4: Coursepack §§ 3.B.ii (utility), 3.C.i (patent prosecution)
- September 9: Coursepack §§ 3.C.ii (claims) and 3.C.iii (enablement) There is a short claim drafting exercise in this section, which will require you to write a claim and email it to me the night before class.
- September 11: Coursepack § 3.D.i (novelty) (casebook readings only)
- September 16: Coursepack § 3.D.i (novelty) (finish)
- September 18: Cursepack §§ 3.D.ii (nonobviousness), 3.D.iii (joint invention)
- September 23: Coursepack §§ 3.E (patent infringement), 3.F (patent defenses), 3.A.i (yes, there are two chapter 3s; this is the second, on copyright) (copyright originality)
- September 25: No additional readings
- September 30: Coursepack §§ 3.A.ii (idea/expresion), 3.B (ownership)
- October 2: Coursepack § 3.C (procedures)
- October 7: Coursepack §§ 3.D.i (infringement: similarity), 3.D.ii (infringement: prohibited conduct)
- October 9: Coursepack § § 3.D.ii (infringement: secondary liability), 3.E (Campbell and fair use checklist only)
- October 14: Coursepack §§ 3.E (fair use), 4.A.i (trademark distinctiveness in general)
- October 16: Coursepack § 4.A.ii (special problems in distinctiveness)
- October 21: Coursepack § 4.B (ownership)
- October 23: Coursepack § 4.C.i (Top Tobacco and Kellogg) (infringement)
- October 28: Coursepack §§ 4.C.i (finish) (infringement), 4.C.ii (dilution)
- October 30: Coursepack § 4.D (trademark defenses)
- November 4: Coursepack §§ 5 (false advertising) 6.A (right of publicity subject matter), 6.B (right of publicity infringement)
- November 6: Coursepack § 6.C (right of publicity defenses)
- November 11: Coursepack chapter 7 (design), with the following cuts: in § 7.A, skip Meshwerks. In § 7.B, skim Two Pesos and Samara Bros.. In § 7.C, skip Webb, PHG Techs, and Richardson. The discussion may spill over into Thursday’s class, but it is important to read the design materials as a group because they all bear on the same issues.
- November 13: Coursepack chapter 8 (software)
- November 18: Coursepack chapter 9.A (preemption), § 10.A (statutory provisions only), Noon Heartache Problem, and chapter 11.
- November 20: Review problem (on Blackboard as “Teller Problem” and “Magic Trick Description”)
There will be a 3-hour final exam on a date to be determined by the Registrar. It will be open-book and subject to a strict word limit. I will grade the final examinations blind to determine preliminary grades. I may then adjust preliminary grades up or down by a third of a letter grade — or, in extraordinary circumstances, two-thirds of a letter grade — baed on class participation. Good participation is anything that helps your classmates learn; bad participation is anything that detracts from their education.