The University of Maine School of Law has a broad curriculum with courses available in a wide range of areas. The Intellectual Property Track for L.L.M. students is designed to prepare students for careers in this growing and ever-changing field of law.
The Intellectual Property Track is open to current LL.M. students. The required coursework is:
1. Completion of the Intellectual Property introductory course
This course provides a broad survey of the three main branches of intellectual property law, namely trademark, copyright, and patent law. We will explore the similarities and differences among these varied systems of intellectual property protection, as well as examine the challenges brought about by new technologies. This course provides a foundation for advanced intellectual property courses but is also appropriate for students who seek only a general understanding of intellectual property law. A science or technical background is not necessary.
2. Completion of the Introduction to U.S. Law course (required for all foreign LL.M. students):
This course is intended to introduce foreign-trained lawyers and law students to the American legal system. The American legal system is different in many significant respects from the civil law system which developed in continental Europe and then spread to large parts of Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The principal goals of the course are to introduce students to the way that Americans think about law, to learn how American lawyers and judges perform legal tasks (like legal analysis, legal argumentation, finding and using legal authority, etc.), and to understand the role that law and lawyers play in the American economy and public life.Students will learn about the American legal system by reading landmark cases in different areas of public and private law ( e.g., Marbury v. Madison, Erie v. Tompkins, Brown v. Board of Education, Pierson v. Post, Palsgraf v. The Long Island Railroad Company) and canonical legal documents ( e.g., the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution) and texts ( e.g., The Federalist Papers, Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Holmes’ The Path of the Law). Students will do a number of writing assignments that replicate the work of the American law student and lawyer (e.g., memorandum of law, opinion letter to client).The course will also feature visits to a law firm and to courts to observe the actual practice and application of the law. Since the course is intended for foreign students, for almost all of whom English is not their native language, considerable emphasis will be placed on improving English-language skills, particularly reading English-language legal materials (cases, statutes, law review articles, and other types of legal documents) as well as written and oral expression in a legal context.
3. At least six credits from the following list of elective courses:
(*Starred courses may be taken for 3 credits for LL.M. students who are writing a paper for the course.)
This course examines the nature of the rights protected under federal copyright law and the types of work that qualify for protection, including literary, artistic, and musical works. This course also covers copyright duration, ownership, formalities, remedies for infringement, and principles of international protection. The Copyright Act of 1976 as amended forms the core statutory material covered by the course.
This course will focus on several areas. First, it will explore the federal regulation of products covered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) including food, drugs, and medical devices. Second, it will review the state, local, federal, and common law regulation of food, stressing both historical evolution and cutting edge policy issues such as GMOs, ‘fair trade’ regulations, and legal issues connected with the locavore movement (such as conflicts between local and state regulations).
This seminar will cover a variety of issues related to the protection of intellectual property on a worldwide basis. Topics to be covered include (1) the extraterritorial protection of intellectual property rights, including the concept of globalization; (2) international mechanisms for the acquisition of intellectual property rights; (3) international enforcement of intellectual property rights by rights holders, including parallel imports and gray market goods; (4) disputes between states; and (5) the future of international intellectual property law and policy, in particular issues related to domain names and Internet websites.
This course provides a broad survey of the numerous issues arising from the rapid growth of the Internet and other online communications. We will explore whether the application of existing legal rules to new technologies is appropriate or if completely novel approaches are necessary when dealing with problems that arise in cyberspace. Topics to be examined include jurisdiction, the domain name system, regulation of online service providers and digital content creators, freedom of speech, as well as privacy.
2 or 3 credits
This course examines the major issues of the substantive patent law of the United States. Topics include patentable subject matter, utility, novelty, statutory bars, priority of invention, non-obviousness, scope and content of the prior art, disclosure and enablement, reissue and reexamination, infringement, misuse, remedies, and the relationship between trade secret and patent law. The process for obtaining a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will not be covered in depth, but there will be an introduction to this process.
This course explores the tax consequences of creating, acquiring, exploiting, and transferring various intellectual property (IP) assets (including patents, trade secrets, know how, copyrights, trademarks, and computer software) in both domestic and international transactions. The course also explores popular tax-planning strategies used in connection with IP (e.g., the use of domestic and foreign IP holding subsidiaries) and raises interesting tax policy questions. Valuation of IP, the use of IP by non-profit organizations, and special business and estate planning considerations involving IP are also addressed.
This course offers students an introduction to acquiring and protecting trademarks. Students learn how to counsel clients on what may serve as a proper trademark, how to register a mark with the state and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the nature of an infringement lawsuit, and defending trademarks against domain name “cybersquatters” in US courts and through international arbitration systems. This course is designed to give students a practical rather than theoretical view of trademark law and as such frequently incorporates local practitioners in delivering course materials and answering students’ questions.
Please note that not all courses are offered every semester.