FALL 2005

Introduction to Intellectual Property

Course No. 9200 700, 9200 800
Tu 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Room W-206
Professor Jay Dratler, Jr.
Room 231D (IP Alcove)
(330) 972-7972
dratler@uakron.edu, dratler@neo.rr.com
Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005  Jay Dratler, Jr.   For permission, see CMI.

Course Requirements and Policies

Electronic Communication and Examination
Attendance and Class Participation
Evaluation of Your Performance

Electronic Communication and Examination

All class information and assignments will be posted on this Website.  You should be comfortable enough with Web "surfing" to navigate through this Website, find what you want, save it on your hard drive and, if necessary, print it out.  Please be sure to check the Website when in doubt as to your assignment or any changes in the class schedule.

Some time-critical or urgent messages may be sent by e-mail.  More important, you may receive your final examination and submit your answers by e-mail.  During the first class session, you will be asked to specify one or more e-mail addresses for communication in this course.  You should check the address(es) that you have specified for e-mail pertaining to this course at least twice per week, including once on the day before each class.  To avoid last-minute panic regarding the final examination, please try to select e-mail addresses that will be valid for the entire semester.

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Attendance and Class Participation

Learning intellectual property law is fun.  Unlike much of the law, the material which we will study is highly conceptual and generally logical, though occasionally counterintuitive.  The cases involve all the excitement of modern life, from innovations in computers and biotechnology to developments in entertainment, publishing and marketing.  Several of my students have told me that the intellectual property cases which we read are among the most interesting in the law school's curriculum.

There is, however, a lot to learn.  Intellectual property law is largely a creature of statutes, and the statutes are undergoing almost continual change.  Moreover, current statutes are intricate patchworks of past amendments, and some of them are execrably drafted.  The interaction between federal and state law and consequent federal preemption further complicate the picture.

Learning of this kind requires an active classroom experience.  Although copyright's basic, abstract principles are easy to state in a Gilbert's or similar outline, they are often devilishly difficult to understand and apply.  Since the goal of this course is to give you a lawyer's understanding, this will not be a course for "back benchers."  Diligent preparation and active participation in class discussions will be expected and will affect your grade, as discussed below.

You may excuse yourself from class discussion and nevertheless attend class no more than twice during the semester.  You may exercise this option only by giving give me an "unprepared" note before class.  Please use a full page for each such note (little slips of paper may get lost!), and please include (1) your printed name, (2) the date, (3) the words "I pass" or "unprepared," and (4) your signature.

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Evaluation of Your Performance

Grades will be based primarily upon a written examination.  Unless a significant portion of the class objects, this will be an e-mail "take home" examination.  An e-mail examination will have a time limit (no more than five consecutive hours) and a word limit (no greater than 3,000 words) and will be designed to give no credit whatsoever to pre-prepared or "canned" passages.  During the examination, you may consult any generally published material and any material that you yourself have prepared, including LEXIS, the Web, and other legal research aids. The following materials, however, should be sufficient for the examination and are strongly recommended as part of your learning process:
    1)  An outline or issues checklist that you have prepared, on a single letter-sized (8-1/2" x 11") sheet of paper, both sides; and
    2)  Your Casebook, Statute Book, and Supplement, as well as your own printouts of any supplementary reading from this Website, with your own annotations in the margins (not on the blank pages).
The obvious purpose of recommending these materials and notifying you in advance is to encourage you to: (1) begin making an outline or other conceptual overview of the course as early as possible in the semester; and (2) annotate your reading materials in a way that will be useful for the examination and perhaps later in practice.  "Pulling the course together" is best done periodically throughout the semester, not just before the final exam.

Your grade will not be based entirely upon the final examination.  Your class performance, participation, and attendance also will count.  At the semester's end, I will assess your overall class performance; those whose performance is consistently superior (typically from 10% to 30% of the class) will receive a one-step advance (for example from B+ to A-, or from C to C+) in their examination grades.  As is true in all my classes, quality will count more than quantity.  Consistently helpful participation may boost your grade, but passing or "winging it" when called upon will count against you.

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Intro to IP Law Home Page
Assigned Reading
Course Description