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Intellectual Property & Information Law

Full-time Faculty

Hugh Hansen Sonia Katyal Mark R. Patterson
Olivier Sylvain Ron Lazebnik Joel Reidenberg


Intellectual Property (''IP'') law concerns varying forms of protection for intellectual creation and effort. There are a myriad of federal and state law protections for intellectual property. The principal forms of protection are copyrights, trademarks, and patents. Copyright law provides protection for traditional creative works such as novels, motion pictures, sculptures, paintings, and musical works as well as protection for modern technological works including computer programs, video displays, and online databases. Trademark law protects brand names and the trade dress and packaging of products or services and sometimes even the configuration of the products themselves. Patent law protects inventions which meet a qualitative standard of non-obviousness and novelty based upon the "prior art" of the landscape of existing inventions.

There are also two related areas of protection: trade secrets, which protect confidential proprietary knowledge, usually owned by a corporation; and the right of publicity, which protects an individual's right to protect the commercial aspects of their persona.

Intellectual Property law is becoming more important each year as the size of the industries dependent on IP protection increase. The increase in trade both domestically and internationally has caused the IP lawyer to become more important in the corporate hierarchy and many law firms now look to acquire or train lawyers with this expertise. Because U.S. motion picture, music, record, publishing and software companies export billions of dollars of IP related products, intellectual property protection has become a priority also of the U.S. government. For similar reasons the European Union is very interested in increasing protection with the EU and internationally. Students interested in this area of the law should begin with the introductory course in Intellectual Property, which covers the basic principles and current case law developments in each area. After becoming familiar with the framework of each area of intellectual property, students are recommended to then take at least one of our three basic courses in Copyright Law, Trademark Law, or Patent Law. Students may take these three courses without taking the survey Intellectual Property course. Students who have taken two of the three may not then take the survey course.

Students who have a technical or scientific background may be particularly interested in Patent Law. Students who know they want to practice patent law and have the appropriate background skills may concentrate on the basic and advanced courses in patent law, such as International and Comparative Patent Law and Patent Litigation. The Law School also offers advanced courses and seminars within the areas of trademark and copyright law, including courses that explore the interplay between intellectual property and other topics, such as antitrust.


Upper Level Survey & Introductory Courses

Advanced Upper Level Courses in Specialized Topics

International/Comparative Intellectual Property Classes

The Law School offers several international or comparative courses in intellectual property law. Because of the "globalization" of the exploitation of IP-related products, every student who has a serious interest in intellectual property law should consider taking these courses.

Additional Related Upper Level Courses

Related Fordham Law School Publications and Centers & Institutes