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Intellectual Property Law: Advanced - Spring 2011

Spring term, Block D
Th,F 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Professor William W. Fisher
3 classroom credits LAW-41415A
2, 3, or 4 optional clinical credits Fall or Spring, or 2 Winter, LAW-41415C

This course is intended for students who are already familiar with the main contours of intellectual-property law and would like to explore the subject further. We will examine in depth a series of topics that, in recent years, have proven especially controversial or troublesome: trademark dilution; the right of publicity; intellectual-property protection for fashion; fair use; possible solutions to the crisis in the entertainment industry; patent pools and standard-setting organizations; reverse-payment settlement agreements; claim construction; the relationship between copyright and freedom of speech; how legal reform might help address the health crisis in the developing world; exhaustion; remedies for intellectual-property violations; and the possibility that extralegal norms will provide substitutes for intellectual-property rules. Each student will be expected to participate in the discussion of these issues (both in the classroom and online) and to write a short resear ch paper addressing an aspect of one of them. Group projects are encouraged. There will be no exam.

Enrollment is limited to 50.

Prerequisites: Completion of at least two of the following courses: Copyright Law; Patent Law; and Trademark Law -- or completion of one of those courses plus the permission of the instructor.

Students who would like to participate in the optional clinical must enroll through clinical registration. Clinical placements are with the Cyberlaw clinic at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Refer to the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs website ( for clinical registration dates, early add/drop deadlines, and other information about this clinical.

(The syllabus is available at