Public Interest IP Law School Clinics

As I’ve stated ahead of, anytime legislation learners talk to me for suggestions on IP professions, my responses usually have a general public fascination bent to them. Just after I graduated legislation college, I was shocked by how quite a few distinctive parts lie at the intersection of intellectual property and general public fascination, and that there are quite a few legislation college clinics that concentration on these parts. If you are wondering about heading to legislation college, the superior news is that there are plenty of legislation colleges that have excellent IP clinics. I’ve often been a massive proponent of clinics since you get a significantly far better experience for what type of legislation you could want to exercise.

Whilst there are a range of transactional type intellectual property clinics that will give you excellent arms-on encounter (this kind of as undertaking prior art queries and submitting for patents or counseling tech startups), I’m heading to concentration on the general public fascination-associated types, which are (frequently) extra plan-oriented. Total disclosure: I have worked with a range of these clinics on many plan concerns in the past and these are the types I’m most familiar with, but there are undoubtedly extra out there, so do your study.

What type of perform could you get to do in a general public fascination intellectual property clinic? That remedy naturally depends on the spot of concentration. A D.C.-based mostly legislation clinic could be extra intensely concerned in regulatory proceedings. A Los Angeles-based mostly clinic could have a continuous stream of filmmaker clientele. Does the clinic concentration on a wide vary of intellectual property matters, or is it extra specialised?

Regardless of the precise concentration are, an intellectual property legislation clinic could provide an possibility to stroll clientele through analyses to ascertain irrespective of whether a distinct incorporation of a portion of an present perform into a new piece of art is possible to be a honest use. Clinics may possibly provide learners a possibility to draft amicus briefs in circuit courts or ahead of SCOTUS, delivering a exceptional plan perspective that is frequently unique from the get-togethers to the scenario, for illustration, in a scenario about patent trolls. A clinic could have a customer who needs to have a voice at a Copyright Business roundtable or hearing on concerns this kind of as mass digitization or circumvention of technological security steps.

There are also a range of concerns that, even though not strictly about patent, copyright, or trademark, relate to these parts. Online legislation, net neutrality, media legislation, the Initially Modification, and privateness are just some associated parts that a technological innovation-focused clinic could care about. The appropriate of publicity and defamation could be an spot that an arts clinic could want to delve into. Well being legislation and incapacity legislation could appear into perform in a wellbeing clinic.

The UC Irvine University of Law’s Mental Residence, Arts, & Tech Clinic “work[s] to secure civil liberties and guidance innovation in the electronic age.” Amongst other projects, this clinic has represented clientele in requesting exemptions from the anti-circumvention provisions (keep in mind this put up on the complications with electronic locks?) underneath the Electronic Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Stanford’s Juelsgaard Mental Residence and Innovation Clinic notes that its learners draft amicus briefs, get ready opinions, and provide testimony in federal company rulemaking proceedings and draft white papers. For illustration, the clinic submitted an amicus transient to the Courtroom of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Oracle v. Google on behalf of “76 pioneers and luminaries in the field of computer system science” and a single to SCOTUS, symbolizing the non-profit organization Engine Advocacy in TC Heartland v. Kraft Food stuff on discussion board shopping in patent scenarios.

Berkeley’s Samuelson Law, Engineering & Community Coverage Clinic “trains legislation and graduate learners in general public fascination perform on rising systems, privateness, intellectual property, free speech, purchaser and citizen pursuits in technological innovation deployment and layout, creativeness, innovation and other facts plan concerns.” The clinic’s learners and faculty co-authored the book Fair Use for Nonfiction Authors jointly with the organization the Authors Alliance.

Colorado’s Engineering Law and Coverage Clinic has also worked on requests for DMCA exemptions, including a petition in the latest rulemaking cycle to allow for for circumvention for technological security steps to make videos accessible for individuals with disabilities, including closed and open up captions an audio descriptions.

American College Washington College of Law’s Mental Residence Law Clinic, amongst other projects, gives “copyright counseling associated to honest use concerns for many filmmakers, artists, and activists.” A single of these projects bundled delivering counseling for the 2016 documentary The Witness about the 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese.

Participating in clinics can be an wonderful possibility to get worthwhile useful encounter, not only in terms of performing on authentic scenarios and having precise clientele, but also for deciding fascination in a distinct spot of legislation. The good news is, there are quite a few excellent legislation colleges with intellectual property clinics, including individuals that are general public fascination-oriented.

Krista L. Cox is a plan legal professional who has put in her job performing for non-profit organizations and associations. She has experience in copyright, patent, and intellectual property enforcement legislation, as very well as intercontinental trade. She now operates for a non-profit member association advocating for balanced copyright. You can reach her at

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