With an expanded mission, a new space, and a new name, the Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic (IPEC) opens its doors this semester.
Retooled to better meet the needs of clients in and around Baltimore, IPEC hopes to improve upon traditional intellectual property (IP) clinics. Like traditional IP clinics, IPEC will provide legal assistance with patents, trademarks, copyrights, the protection of trade secrets, and licensing matters. Director of IPEC Patricia Campbell explains, the expanded clinic “will also provide assistance with a variety of corporate and business law matters. Students will assist clients with forming new businesses and preparing their charter documents. They will provide assistance with obtaining business permits, regulatory matters, and operational issues like manufacturing agreements and strategic partnerships. The clinic may also provide counseling on tax implications of certain actions and may provide assistance with obtaining non-profit or benefit status. And for those companies interested in seeking outside investment, IPEC will review term sheets and advise clients on various financing arrangements.”
IPEC takes residence at the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) BioPark, the law school’s first presence at that location, as part of UMB’s new Graduate Research Innovation District (GRID). At the GRID’s ceremonial opening, UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD remarked, “This is truly a community space where students, faculty, staff, alumni, and entrepreneurs — inside and outside the University and the University System — can work shoulder to shoulder on the next big thing or the next small thing that can make a big difference.”
IPEC is the successor to the law school’s Intellectual Property Law Clinic. Students in the IP Clinic operated under the authority of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Law School Clinic Certification Program. Under that program, the USPTO gave our students limited recognition to practice before the USPTO for purposes of filing and prosecuting patent and trademark applications while they worked in the clinic under the supervision of experienced attorneys. IPEC and its student attorneys remain a part of the USPTO’s Law School Clinic Certification Program as part of the newly expanded scope.
Professor Campbell noted that IPEC’s expansion to Baltimore is cause for excitement. She declared, “Baltimore has a vibrant startup community that is energized by the presence of two major research universities and a dynamic arts scene in the city. As a result, clinic students have the opportunity to work with many different kinds of clients, from medical device and pharmaceutical companies, to virtual reality and software firms, and visual artists and musicians.”
In addition to 13 students, two new clinical instructors join IPEC this semester. Henry Abromson will be responsible for supervising students who are assisting clients with business and entrepreneurship matters, as well as some IP law issues. Duane Moore ‘02 is a patent attorney who will be supervising students who are working on patent projects.
Of this semester’s IPEC students, 3L Neda Dadpey is the only one to have previously worked as a student attorney with the IP clinic. She echoed Professor Campbell’s sentiment about the expanded operation of IPEC noting, “I think it is fantastic and much needed. From my experience, many clients who came to the clinic were in the early stages of building their business. The expanded services allow the clinic to serve more of those clients' needs.”
Students interested in joining IPEC as a student attorney need to have taken the three credit Intellectual Property Law Survey. When asked whether students wishing to join IPEC needed a technical background, Professor Campbell replied, “Students from all undergraduate disciplines are welcome to join the clinic. There is no requirement that a student have a degree in engineering or science in order to take the clinic. To the contrary, we also need students with business backgrounds, as well as those with degrees in the arts and humanities.”