Constructing an IP Curriculum
A major challenge for law schools working with limited resources is the construction of IP course sequences. The three primary courses, patent, copyright, and trademark have each grown to the point that professors talk about making them 4 credits instead of 3. At the same time, there is continued student demand for an IP Survey course, usually of 4 credits, which is valuable to those unfamiliar with IP or who take it as part of a larger corporate law curriculum.
Here are some possibilities for how to structure things. First, have everyone start with an IP Survey course, making it a prerequisite for advanced courses in copyright, patent, and trademark. The problem here is that “serious” IP-focused students find it inefficient and would rather start off with more in-depth treatment, and there is also the inefficienty of unavoidable overlap (e.g. everyone reads certain cases in each course).
Second, have separate tracks. Students can start with IP Survey, or they can start with patent, copyright, and trademark. If one assumes that students who take IP Survey won’t take the other three, then concerns about overlap disappear. However, if someone who takes IP Survey decides to pursue IP as a career, they wind up with a lot of overlap between the two courses, raising an argument that the person who takes IP Survey before the other classes has an unfair advantage (something I’m not too sure about) or should get one less credit for the other courses.
At BC Law, we presently use the first solution, but I’m not entirely satisfied with it. What do others do?