In Suffolk Law’s IP concentration, you get hands-on, skill-focused learning that combines innovative practical clinics with traditional classroom lessons. Our concentration is one of the largest and most developed of its kind in the country with a wealth of courses to address the richness of this diverse field of practice.
IP law includes patent; copyright; trademarks; trade secrets; and right of publicity. All of these areas are related in that they deal with protecting products of the mind but in other ways they are very different. Patent law and trademark law tend to deal with technology and inventions.
Patent law involves obtaining a patent on an invention issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office—this is called patent prosecution and only registered patent attorneys can engage in prosecution. To be a registered patent attorney, you must have a science background in addition to a law degree. Another area of patent law is patent infringement litigation which can be engaged in by any attorney. This type of litigation is incredibly expensive – often costing millions of dollars in attorney and expert fees. Additionally, developing a strategic portfolio of patents is another important activity attorneys can do in conjunction with business people.
Trademark law involves prosecution of trademark applications in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, which can be done by any attorney. Trademark infringement litigation is a major area because companies with strong trademarks must be vigilant about protecting their trademarks to avoid losing them because they become generic words.
Both trademark and patent law involve primarily federal law. In contrast, trade secret law and right of publicity law are state law. And, the law varies a lot state to state making forum selection often a critical issue in this area of law.
The primary work in the copyright area today involves applying this body of law to electronic and digital media to control its duplication and distribution.
Opportunities within the IP Concentration
Institute on Law Practice Technology & Innovation
Suffolk Law’s new Institute on Law Practice Technology & Innovation is ranked in the ABA’s top 13 law schools for its commitment to teaching law practice technology, which the ABA describes as training students to use document automation, legal expert systems and other legal practice technology that lawyers use in the real world.
Journal of High Technology Law
This online law journal explores high technology’s effects on nearly every area of law.
Suffolk Law typically offers several classes from the IP concentration curriculum during its three-week summer program at the University of Lund in Sweden, including international intellectual property, global Internet law and international business transactions.
Suffolk Law students have interned with the Cyber Crime Division of the state Attorney General's Office, Cisco Corporation, BOSE Corporation and the state Division of Information Technology.
Suffolk Law’s IP concentration offers Professional Education programs throughout the year.
Intellectual Property Law Certificate
The IP concentration offers an online IP certificate program for lawyers and other professionals to learn the basics of IP law.
Masters in Global Technology (LLM)
The LLM program is designed for attorneys who want the practical knowledge and skills needed to meet the legal challenges of science, technology and communications in today’s evolving global economy.
Podcasts from Suffolk Law faculty and prominent IP attorneys compiled by Professor Andrew Beckerman-Rodau, co-director of the IP concentration. Topics range from IP cases in the headlines such as the Boston music download case, RIAA v. Tennenbaum, to practical advice from concentration professor Jessica Silbey on careers in IP law other than patent prosecution.