The Intellectual Property Law Program is UM Carey Law’s home for the study of creativity and innovation. Students and faculty in the IP Law Program combine teaching, scholarship, and public service to help clients and the public harvest the fruits of the human imagination.
Intellectual property is one of the few areas of law considered important enough that it was included in the Constitution. The Copyright Clause gave Congress the power “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” Today’s lawyers carry this historical mission forward into new media and new technologies.
At the heart of intellectual property are the three main federal forms of intellectual property: patents, which give inventors exclusive rights to their new compounds, machines, and other innovations; copyrights, which protect authors and artists against piracy of the way they express themselves; and trademarks, which recognize the distinctive brands and logos consumers rely on as signals of familiar quality. Other closely related fields include the false advertising laws protecing consumers and competitors, rights of publicity in celebrity personas, and trade secrets in confidential business information. The IP Law Program works closely with the Business Law Program on issues involving businesses’ intellectual property assets and risks.
The IP Law Program also serves as the nexus at UM Carey Law for the study of information and technology law. One particular focus is Internet law: privacy and free speech are being radically recast on a network where words can spread wordwide in a matter of miliseconds. Another is healthcare and technology: the IP Law Program collaborates with UM Carey Law’s leading Health Law Program on issues such as patient privacy and Big Data approaches to medical research and healthcare management.
In addition to training future lawyers and policy-makers for careers in intellectual property and related specialties, the IP Law Program helps all UM Carey Law students prepare for a career in a rapidly changing world. Future lawyers must keep pace with the ways that digital tools are changing the daily practice of law itself, such as electronic discovery, online contracts, and the ethics of friending witnesses on Facebook. Every client with a website is a publisher; every client with a YouTube channel is a movie producer. Businesses of all shapes and sizes count on their lawyers to help them comply with regulations governing everything from app privacy to zero-day attacks.
The IP Law Program offers a rich curriculum in intellectual property, information, and technology law.
Practical experience is a major focus of the IP curriculum. The centerpiece of the program is the Intellectual Property Law Clinic, in which students work with startups and other businesses to move their ideas from concept to execution, identifying and smoothing over legal obstacles and ensuring appropriate legal protections.
UM Carey Law faculty are leading experts in digital copyright, privacy law, and other intellectual property and information-law fields. For more information on their work, see the complete list of affiliated faculty.
The faculty of the IP Program are active in national and international debates about how society should respond to the ongoing information revolution and rapid technological change. They testify before Congress, publish op-eds and white papers, file amicus briefs in major cases, speak to audiences of all shapes and sizes, and blog prolifically to promote public understanding of important issues.
Students and faculty in the IP Clinic work with the Maryland Intellectual Property Legal Resource Center provide free legal services to entrepreneurs and educate the community about intellectual property law.
Potential clients of the Maryland Intellectual Property Legal Resource Center should complete the intake form. Students with questions about the IP Program should consult with its Director, Professor Campbell.