Fall Term 2018-2019
2 (2 Contact, 0 Field)
General Enrollment Course
Full Year Course:
The objective of this course is to provide students with a thorough grounding in the basic doctrine, legal rules, statutory framework, historical background, Constitutional basis, and public policy issues underlying United States patent law. A technical background is not required for this course, but a willingness to intellectually engage with basic inventions is a must. The course does not dwell on the technicalities of patent prosecution or Patent Office procedures, and is not geared to teaching students how to prepare for the Patent Office registration exam, but will help prepare students interested in taking the registration exam by providing the legal framework for patent practice.
Subject to a potential one-half letter grade increase for outstanding class participants, course grades will be based on a short in-class midterm examination and a take-home final examination.
For over two hundred years the United States patent system has stimulated innovation by conveying time-limited exclusionary rights to inventors who adequately disclose their novel and nonobvious inventions to the public. Throughout this time, technological advancements in various industries have repeatedly confronted the patent system with fascinating policy and doctrinal challenges. In a constant effort to keep up with the pace of innovation and ensure that the patent system fulfills its Constitutional purpose to “promote the progress of . . . useful arts,” patent case law has become one of the most rapidly evolving and adapting areas of American law.
Through study of judicial decisions and statutory provisions, this course will examine the substantive legal doctrine and policy underlying two primary aspects of United States patent law: (1) the requirements for obtaining a patent; and (2) the means by which an issued patent is enforced (and its validity challenged). Specific topics include patentable subject matter (including computer-implemented inventions and biotechnology), novelty, nonobviousness, utility, loss of right, disclosure requirements, patent claim interpretation, literal infringement, the doctrine of equivalents, prosecution history estoppel, defenses to patent infringement resulting in invalidity and/or unenforceability, injunctive relief, damages, and the unique role of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in shaping patent law.