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Jason Rantanen

Associate Professor of Law

Professor Rantanen specializes in intellectual property law.  His regular courses include Introduction to Intellectual Property, Patent Law, and Trademarks and Unfair Competition.  Professor Rantanen's scholarship addresses legal issues in patent law from doctrinal, empirical, and theoretical perspectives, and he is a co-author of the widely-read PatentlyO law blog where he discusses recent developments in patent law legislation and jurisprudence.

Following law school, Professor Rantanen served as a law clerk to the Hon. William C. Bryson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and practiced with the firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP for six years, focusing on patent litigation, appeals, and counseling. Immediately prior to joining Iowa Law he was a Visiting Researcher at the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

In addition to his teaching and scholarship work, Professor Rantanen is the faculty advisor for the Iowa Intellectual Property Law Society student group, a member of the Iowa Innovation, Business & Law Center, and currently serves as the chair of the Faculty Clerkship Committee. For the 2014-15 academic year, Professor Rantanen will be on research leave during the fall and will teach the Introduction to Intellectual Property course in the spring.  He will also co-teach an intersession course in International Intellectual Property during the May intersession period.

408 Boyd Law Building
Intellectual Property
Courses Taught: 
Patent Law
Practice & Teaching: 

Intro to IP

91:286 (LAW:8643) Introduction to Intellectual Property (Rantanen)

Introduction to Intellectual Property is a course for both law and non-law graduate students. It is based on the idea that legal rights over ideas play a fundamental role in our modern society, and that the importance of understanding those rights is no longer limited to their economic role but is central to our everyday lives. Intro to IP is intended to introduce students to some of the most important intellectual property rules and the goals and theories underlying those rules.

Intro to IP will cover the most common ways in which ideas may be protected, running from the most basic form of protection (secrecy and trade secrecy) to exclusive rights granted over inventions (patents) and creative works (copyright), and concluding with rights relating to market-based identities (trade and service marks). Along the way, we will briefly explore some of the ways in which debates over intellectual property rights have permeated modern culture.

Intro to IP is also intended to provide law students interested in continuing on with advanced studies in copyright, trademarks, and patents with a basic background in these areas. Consequently, students should expect to be challenged by the subject matter and the demanding pace. However, there is no assumption that students will be familiar with background science, other than a basic high school education and an understanding of the modern society in which we live. Nor are any prior law classes required.

Students who plan to take Trademark and Unfair Competition Law, Copyrights, Patent Law, Intellectual Property Advocacy, or any intellectual property seminar are strongly urged to take this course prior to or concurrently with any of those courses or seminars.

This course may be available as a first year spring elective. Law and non-law graduate students will be graded separately.

Intro to IP Syllabus


 Professor Rantanen is the author of numerous articles on patent law doctrine and theory.

His recent publications include "The Federal Circuit's New Obviousness Jurisprudence" in the Stanford Journal of Law and Technology, "Patent Law's Disclosure Requirement" in the Loyola University of Chicago Law Journal, a review of Justice Scalia and Prof. Garner's book Reading Law in Landslide, and "Unenforceability" with Lee Petherbridge and Polk Wagner in the Washington and Lee Law Review.


AB, Brown University, 1999

MA, University of Chicago, 2000

JD, University of Chicago, 2003


Introduction to IP Law