"Intellectual property law" encompasses patents, copyrights, and trademarks as its core subjects, along with specialized bodies of law for designs, plants, and geographical indications, among other things. "Innovation law” is meant to deal broadly with IP issues and with related business law, employment law, technology law, trade law, and free speech law questions–among many others–for individuals, firms, and governments in the arts, entertainment, privacy and security, software and computer networks, life sciences, and technology development and commercialization. These related fields are among the most exciting and challenging areas of contemporary law practice. Pitt Law today is building on its distinguished tradition of scholarship and teaching in these disciplines.
The Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Concentration is designed to allow students to obtain a focused introduction to these bodies of law and practice while simultaneously getting a broad grounding in modern law practice generally. No scientific or technical background is required to pursue the Area of Concentration or to practice law in any of the related fields, though students who wish to practice law as a patent prosecutor do need to have an engineering degree or other, similar technical qualification.
Students may pursue this concentration by taking foundational courses in intellectual property law, 5-6 credits of electives, and 4-6 skills-based credits.
Many of the courses included in the design of the Area of Concentration are taught by and/or are aligned in their content and teaching goals with faculty associated with Pitt Law’s Innovation Practice Institute (IPI). The IPI itself is not a curricular program and does not offer any courses for credit, certification, or degrees. Instead, the course-related and academic goals of the IPI, which are to prepare new law graduates to work with innovation industries and to be innovative lawyers, are expressed in the classroom through this Area of Concentration. In addition, the IPI offers a broad range of extracurricular programming for law students and facilitates student placement in local technology-related and entrepreneurship-related internships and externships.
The Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Concentration will learn substantive and procedural law in various areas of intellectual property law and related law concerning law and technology, and law and business, and will acquire the ability to apply their subject-matter expertise in experiential settings such as externships, practicums, advocacy programs, and classroom simulations.
The Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Concentration offers several different pathways, or tracks. Each of these is voluntary rather than mandatory. Each student enrolled in the Concentration may choose one of these paths, none of them, or a blend of courses, depending on their goals and interests. The pathways are offered here to guide students who ask: what courses should I take, if I am interested in “X”?
Other Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Opportunities
There are a number of opportunities for students interested in health law to pursue this interest either through the Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Concentration. They include moot court competitions and fellowships.