Iowa Law offers a range of courses to provide students with a grounding in copyright, trademark, and patent law. Courses in this area prepare future lawyers to navigate the complex web of issues and policy debates arising from legal rights in creative intangibles and human identities. 

The faculty who teach in this area specialize in topics such as patent law, trademark law, and copyright law. They publish in leading academic journals, present at conferences around the country, and shape national and international policy discussions and provide commentary on legal and policy developments in this area that is relied upon by judges, policymakers, and practitioners. 

Iowa Law is also home to the Innovation, Business & Law Center, an educational venture uniting faculty, practitioners, and students who teach, work on, and study legal issues posed by entrepreneurship, creativity, and technology. 

Curriculum Guide

Foundational courses in this area of study include Introduction to Intellectual Property Law, Patent Law, Copyrights, and Trademarks and Unfair Competition. Introduction to Intellectual Property Law is a survey course that provides students with an understanding of the fundamentals of the main forms of intellectual property, including copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, patents, and issues that fall between these main areas. In addition to the survey course, Iowa Law also offers specific courses on each of these topics. 

In addition to these foundational courses, students interested in this area of study can also take a variety of advanced and related courses, including the Patent Prosecution Seminar and Privacy Law & Technology. 

Students focusing on intellectual property law at Iowa may also participate in IP Advocacy, which integrates the teaching of substantive intellectual property law with the development of both oral and written advocacy skills. Students in this class work together in teams to writes appellate briefs in a number of different intellectual property moot competitions including the Lefkowitz Trademark Law competition, the Giles Sutherland Rich Patent Law competition, and the BMI/Cardozo Copyright Law competition. The class culminates in the students’ participation in oral arguments at their respective moot court competitions. 

Students may also participate in a wide range of for-credit externships in the judiciary, governmental agencies, nonprofits, and businesses.  Examples of previous externships include the International Trade Commission, which adjudicates patent enforcement disputes at the nation’s borders, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears all appeals arising from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and the intellectual property group of a Fortune-100 company.   

Courses & Programs

  • Introduction to Intellectual Property Law 

This list includes courses taught within the last several years at Iowa Law. Not all courses are offered regularly.

  • Copyrights 
  • Patent Law 
  • Trademarks and Unfair Competition 
  • Intellectual Property Advocacy 
  • Patent Prosecution 
  • Intellectual Property-Related Field Placements 

  • Iowa Innovation, Business & Law Center 

Course Planning Guide

All students interested in pursuing a career in intellectual property law should also take Business Associations, Evidence, and Administrative Law.  Business Associations provides an introduction to common forms of business entities, while Evidence addresses fundamental trans-substantive principles common to many areas of the law.  Administrative Law is especially important for any student considering a career in intellectual property, as securing most intellectual property rights involves working with federal administrative agencies.    

In addition to these courses, students interested in representing businesses on intellectual property matters should take Employment Law, as intellectual property issues often involve the employer-employee relationship, and Basic Federal Income Tax.  Students interested in a transactional practice should consider Principles of Contract Drafting, a seminar that teaches students foundational skills for drafting contracts.   And students interested in litigation should consider additional litigation-related courses including advanced civil procedure courses, Federal Courts, and Judicial Remedies.   

Iowa Law also offers a number of intellectual property-adjacent courses, including in health law, privacy law, media law, sports law, and corporate law, allowing students to customize their own learning experience.  For example, a student interested in practicing pharmaceutical patent law could take a course Health Law, while a student interested in copyright and free speech could take media law.      

In addition to these core courses, the College of Law routinely offers one-time only courses taught by visiting faculty that students are encouraged to take advantage of.  For example, in fall 2021, the College of Law will offer Entrepreneurship Law & Ethics and Cybercrime and Security.   

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