Intellectual Property Law Survey

Professor Grimmelmann

University of Maryland

Fall 2015


First Assignment

For our first class meeting on August 24, please read all of chapter 1 (“Idea Protection”) and pages 1 to 19 of chapter 2 (“Trade Secrets”) in the coursepack. Be prepared to discuss the two problems at the end of chapter 1.


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:


Most of the readings will be taken from a coursepack. I will upload new chapters here from time to time. The coursepack is a work in progress; I hope eventually to release it as a free casebook. I would greatly appreciate your feedback on it; please let me know what works and what doesn’t. I may occasionally also link to a breaking news story or topical YouTube video.

The coursepack contains the essential statutory excerpts, but I highly recommend that you obtain and consult an up-to-date statutory supplement that includes the Patent Act, the Copyright Act, and the Lanham (trademark) Act. I recommend the 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 $12.50.

Class Meetings

We meet Mondays and Wednesdays 10:25 to 11:50 in room 302. I will generally lecture on the cases and black-letter doctrine. I will sometimes call on students to discuss the implications of a rule after I have laid out the basics, but I will not generally ask you to present a case or its holding. The coursepack contains a number of problems; you should attempt to solve them before coming to class and we will discuss them in detail.

Here are my policies about class:


Office: Room 231
Phone: (410) 706-7260
Email: jgrimmelmann at
Office hours: Thursdays, 1:30 to 3:00.

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


Last updated September 27, 2015


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.