Intellectual Property

Intellectual property practice involves working with companies and individuals to secure, enforce, and defend claims to legal rights in the results of creative activity and research and development, which include things like songs, books, movies, software, hardware, product designs, manufacturing processes, biotechnology, logos, company and product names, secret recipes, and secret customer lists. Intellectual property practice involves both transactional work and litigation. Intellectual property attorneys, for example, work with government agencies, such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office, to obtain intellectual property rights on behalf of their clients. Patent and trademark “prosecution,” in particular, involves the drafting and filing of applications for patents and trademarks, as well as the drafting and filing of responses to rejections of these applications. Intellectual property attorneys also assist clients in various transactions related to intellectual property rights. For example, intellectual property attorneys draft and negotiate license agreements or assignments of intellectual property rights, and they conduct due diligence of intellectual property assets for private equity offerings, initial public offerings, mergers, acquisitions, and financing arrangements. To the extent intellectual property assets are used as collateral in secured financing, intellectual property lawyers work in the intersection of intellectual property, bankruptcy, and commercial law. Intellectual property attorneys also advise clients regarding tax consequences of the development, acquisition, transfer, license, and litigation of intellectual property assets. Beyond transactional work, intellectual property attorneys represent clients in disputes and litigation over intellectual property rights, such as infringement litigation and invalidity or opposition procedures. These disputes may occur within government agencies, such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or in state or federal court. Thus, a well-rounded intellectual property practice involves the use of numerous transactional and litigation skills.


Intellectual property is a field of the law that integrates aspects of Constitutional law; statutory law; the common law of contracts, torts, and property; and international, business, and commercial law. It also is a dynamic area of the law, reflecting changes in culture, markets, society, and technology. And it is a part of the law that is growing in importance given our increasingly knowledge-based economy. 

Even if you have no plans to practice intellectual property law, a basic understanding of the field is important for all practicing attorneys today. Consequently, consider taking at least the intellectual property survey course as one of your upper level electives. 

For students with more interest in intellectual property law, the law school offers numerous additional foundational, advanced, and related courses listed below that you have the opportunity to take as upper level electives. And for those students who are interested in patent law and have a technical background satisfying the requirements to take the patent bar examination, you should consider taking the patent bar examination before graduation from law school, and in particular immediately after the 1L year for day students and immediately after the 1E year for evening students.

Foundational Courses – Introducing the Basic Concepts
  • Intellectual Property (the survey course)
  • Copyright
  • Patent Law
  • Trademark & Business Torts
Advanced and Related Courses – Intellectual Property Electives
  • Administrative Law
  • Advanced Commercial Law: Law of Electronic Commerce
  • AntitrustCorporate Planning: Lifecycle of a Tech Startup
  • Counseling the Small Business Owner
  • Employment Law
  • Entertainment Law
  • Franchising and Distribution Law
  • Intellectual Property Externship
  • Intellectual Property Licensing
  • International Franchising Law
  • International Intellectual Property
  • Intellectual Property and Business Organizations (EW)
  • Law and Science (EW)
  • Moot Court: Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court Competition (Patent Law)
  • Moot Court: Pepperdine National Entertainment Law Moot Court Competition (Entertainment Law)
  • Moot Court: Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition (Trademark Law)
  • Negotiation Competition: National Sports Law Negotiation Competition (Sports Law)
  • Patent Clinic
  • Patent Litigation
  • Patent Prosecution
  • Representing the Entrepreneurial Client
  • Selected Problems in Antitrust (EW)
  • Selected Topics in Intellectual Property (EW)
  • Social Media Law
  • Sports Law
  • Trademark Clinic
Experiential Learning Courses Related to Intellectual Property
  • Franchising and Distribution Law
  • Intellectual Property Externship
  • Intellectual Property Licensing
  • Moot Court: Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court Competition (Patent Law)
  • Moot Court: Pepperdine National Entertainment Law Moot Court Competition (Entertainment Law)
  • Moot Court: Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition (Trademark Law)
  • Negotiation Competition: National Sports Law Negotiation Competition (Sports Law)
  • Patent Clinic
  • Patent Litigation
  • Patent Prosecution
  • Trademark Clinic
Student Groups
  • Intellectual Property Organization
  • SMU Science and Technology Law Review
Faculty
Here are the full-time faculty who teach and have an interest in this area of the law:
- Default Text -