Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Master of Science Patent Law

Law School
Law School
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
612-625-4819 Chris Frank, J.D., Program Director of Master of Science in Patent Law Program 411 Walter F. Mondale Hall 229 19th Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55455
  • Program Type: Master's
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2017
  • Length of program in credits: 30 to 36
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Master of Science Patent Law
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The Master of Science in Patent Law is a professional master's degree for scientists and engineers interested in pursuing a career in the growing field of patent law. The program requirements may be completed in one year of full-time study or in two years (with an optional third year) on a part-time basis. This program is offered through the University of Minnesota Law School. Students in this program will learn practical patent drafting, patent research, patent portfolio management and innovation skills. Many courses in this program will be taken jointly with J.D. students.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
Applicants with a degree in Science or Engineering are preferred.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
GRE and LSAT scores are accepted but not required.
Special Application Requirements:
Personal statement, resume, letters of recommendation, interview, patent bar eligibility assessment.
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
  • TOEFL
  • IELTS
Key to test abbreviations (TOEFL, IELTS).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Plan C: Plan C requires 30 to 36 major credits and 0 credits outside the major. There is no final exam. A capstone project is required.
Capstone Project: Patent Law CAPSTONE: Innovation (3 credits): In this course students will select a technology of interest with the cooperation of their adviser. Using their knowledge of innovation, patent law, patent prosecution, patent research and strategy they will identify, articulate and present opportunities for innovation in their chosen technology.
This program may not be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
A minimum GPA of 2.80 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 1 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
Patent Law: Core Curriculum
Students are required to take 23 credits of core coursework, plus 7 additional elective credits as approved by the program director.
LAW 5001 - Introduction to the American Legal System (2.0 cr)
LAW 5224 - Patents (3.0 cr)
LAW 5231 - Patent Prosecution Practice I (2.0 cr)
LAW 5250 - Patent Portfolio Management (2.0 cr)
LAW 5003 - Writing, Analysis & Persuasion (3.0 cr)
LAW 5025 - Patent Law Proseminar (1.0 cr)
LAW 5232 - Patent Prosecution Practice II (3.0 cr)
LAW 5707 - Intellectual Property Transactions (2.0 cr)
LAW 5290 - Patent Law Capstone: Innovation (3.0 cr)
LAW 5075 - Ethics for Patent Agents (1.0 cr)
LAW 5026 - Intellectual Property and Technology Proseminar (1.0 cr)
Electives
Students may choose from the following list of electives. Other courses may be approved in consultation with the program director.
Take 7 or more credit(s) from the following:
· LAW 6608 - Trademarks (3.0 cr)
· LAW 6613 - Copyright (3.0 cr)
· LAW 6248 - Advanced Patents (2.0 cr)
· LAW 6225 - Winning Patent Litigation (2.0 cr)
· LAW 6949 - Biotechnology & Patent Law (2.0 cr)
· LAW 6402 - Food and Drug Law (3.0 cr)
 
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LAW 5001 - Introduction to the American Legal System
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
This is an introductory course in American law, providing an overview of a wide variety of constitutional, statutory and common law legal issues. A primary focus will be on American constitutional law: legislative, judicial, and executive powers; the legal structure of “checks and balances” among the three national governmental powers; the distribution of powers between the national government and state governments (federalism); and the constitutional rights of individuals (including rights of free speech, freedom of religion, due process, and equal protection). We will also examine the American system of litigation: the structure of the court system, the jurisdiction of federal (national) and state courts, and the litigation process. We will also address some common law substantive topics in American law including torts and contracts. Students will have the opportunity to learn how to read and interpret American legal materials, to do legal research within the legal system, and to write an analytical legal memorandum.
LAW 5224 - Patents
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02175
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
This course offers an overview of patent law for both those students intending to specialize in patent prosecution and those whose general practice may include patent litigation and licensing. Topics to be covered include the requirements for patentable subject matter; standards of novelty, utility, and non-obviousness; statutory bars; conception, priority, enablement, and written description requirements in patent procurement; direct and vicarious patent infringement; claims interpretation.
LAW 5231 - Patent Prosecution Practice I
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02176 - Law 5231/Law 6231
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
This course focuses on preparation of patent applications and prosecution before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Topics include types of patent applications, inventor interviews, analysis of prior art, preparation of the patent specification, claim drafting, inventorship determination, ownership determination, amendment practice, and argument practice, with coverage of U.S. law and regulations governing patent prosecution practice. The course is highly practical and will include a number of drafting assignments. A technical background is not required to take this course.
LAW 5250 - Patent Portfolio Management
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02177
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Patent portfolio management is the art of aligning patent strategy with business objectives. In general, the successful portfolio manager must have the ability to transform complex patent information into actionable insights that provide decision-making value to a wide variety of stakeholders. This course introduces students to the various practices and skills that go into building, implementing, and managing a patent portfolio whether from the point of view of a small, innovative, start-up company or a Fortune 500 company in a highly competitive market space.
LAW 5003 - Writing, Analysis & Persuasion
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Writing, analysis and persuasion are integral parts of patent law and practice. Performing a patent search, for example, requires the ability to distinguish the novel features of the invention from those of the prior art. Procuring patent protection requires a showing that the invention is not "obvious" in light of the prior art. These are matters upon which reasonable minds may disagree - and often do. Writing, analysis and persuasion are essential tools of the successful patent practitioner. Through this course, students will be exposed to a broad range of persuasive and analytical techniques. We will explore how these techniques are used across a variety platforms, from written work product to images and visual media. Students will also enhance their writing skills through a number of progressively more challenging iterative writing exercises.
LAW 5025 - Patent Law Proseminar
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02174
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
The field of patent law extends across the boundaries of business, technology, innovation, and law. In this course, students will be introduced to current topics and compelling issues in patent law presented by leading patent and intellectual property law professionals. Students will gain real-world insights from in-house and private practice attorneys and agents, with a focus on patent prosecution and patent litigation.
LAW 5232 - Patent Prosecution Practice II
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02178
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course builds on the foundation from Patent Prosecution Practice I. In this course, we will study advanced patent prosecution and patent practice matters including a review of prosecution-related Federal Circuit cases, appeals practice before the USPTO, opinions, post grant challenge procedures, design patents, foreign prosecution, and more. The course is highly practical and will include take-home projects and in-class exercises. prereq: Master of Science Patent Law Students only.
LAW 5707 - Intellectual Property Transactions
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02262
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Intellectual property rights have been described as a “sword and shield.” Rights holders are thought to act offensively by suing or threatening to sue infringers and seeking money damages, irrespective of the holders’ marketing and product sales programs. Or they act defensively to protect their current or future market positions by having federal courts enjoin competitors. This course considers a third way: intellectual property rights are also valuable intangible assets that may be bought and sold. In this course, we will explore the principal theories and practices of intellectual property transactions. We will be considering closely the doctrines regulating the assigning and licensing of patent, copyright, trademark and other intellectual property rights, and we will be questioning critically whether these laws and practices encourage or inhibit commercial activity and innovation. While studying specific transactions in the course, we will be examining the practical uses of intellectual property law to meet commercial objectives.
LAW 5290 - Patent Law Capstone: Innovation
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02269
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
This capstone course introduces students to the principles of successful innovation and the integral role of patents in this process. This is a course in innovation. There are no right or wrong answers. Large companies with very smart people often launch products that fail. Venture capitalists seeking to invest in winners more-often-than-not end up investing in losers. Innovation is an art not a science. There is no “secret formula” that guarantees success. There are simply different tools, skills, methods of analysis and approaches that may or may not work better than others. We will explore the art of innovation and the integral role that patents play in turning an idea into an innovation. Goals: Students will learn how to research complex subject matter across the intersecting domains of business, finance, marketing, science, technology and intellectual property. Students will then develop the ability to present their findings in a clear and concise manner that is understandable to and can be acted upon by a cross-functional audience of high-level decision makers.
LAW 5075 - Ethics for Patent Agents
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course is designed to provide students with an introduction and understanding of the ethics and rules of professional responsibility and the unauthorized practice of law. Scope: This course covers ethics and professional responsibility for lawyers, ethics and professional responsibility for patent agents and patent attorney’s and the unauthorized practice of law. Goals: This course will provide students with the framework that will guide their actions and conduct as future patent professionals by introducing them to various scenarios that they are likely to encounter in their professional career. By the end of the course, students will understand the principles behind the ethics and rules of professional responsibility and the unauthorized practice of law as it applies to nonlawyers. prereq: Master of Science Patent Law Students.
LAW 5026 - Intellectual Property and Technology Proseminar
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02179
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
The field of intellectual property extends across the boundaries of business, technology, innovation, and law. In this course, students will be introduced to a broad range of IP related topics presented by leading practitioners working at the intersection of law and technology. Students will gain real-world insights into the challenges that new technologies are creating in the fields of patent law, biotechnology, 3D printing, international IP, trade secrets, privacy law, copyrights, and trademarks.
LAW 6608 - Trademarks
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
The course will focus on U.S. federal trademark law, but will also look at state and international trademark law as well as related areas such as false advertising, publicity rights, and cybersquatting. This course will provide a solid foundation for students interested in practicing trademark law (application, enforcement, licensing, or litigation) or more general intellectual property law. It will also be useful to attorneys who do any work with trademark-dependent industries such as retail sales, advertising, or media and entertainment. Finally and more generally, trademark law offers excellent case studies of the interaction between law, culture, and technology, and of the evolution of traditional doctrine under pressure from rapid changes in surrounding circumstances.
LAW 6613 - Copyright
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
This course provides a detailed introduction to the basic law of copyright—traditional copyright subject matter, the concept of originality and authorship, copyright transfers (and terminations of transfers), infringement, and fair use. Copyright law is now important well beyond the entertainment industry, although many of the decisions we study derive from that genre (Humphrey Bogart, George Harrison, J.D. Salinger, Superman, Mickey Mouse, and many other luminaries make cameo appearances in our cases). Copyright has increasingly become a necessary tool of the general practitioner due to the explosive growth in economic value of information-based products, such as computer software, digital networks, and databases. A lawyer ignorant of basic copyright principles will be increasingly handicapped in many areas of practice, such as negotiating technology transfers, drafting contractual rights, developing schemes of protection and privacy, distinguishing criminal from non-criminal behavior, and in litigation. But more important than all that, the cases and materials are lots of fun!
LAW 6248 - Advanced Patents
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
This course will be a continuation of the three-credit Patent Law course. The course will provide in-depth coverage of topics such as remedies (injunctions, lost profits and reasonable royalties, enhanced damages, declaratory judgments, and issues relating to patent marking); appellate review of USPTO decisions; reissue and reexamination; inequitable conduct; inventorship and ownership; double patenting; and patent misuse and related antitrust claims.
LAW 6225 - Winning Patent Litigation
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
The course focuses on practical litigation strategy in the context of patent litigation. It uses patent litigation as a vehicle for seeing how parties develop a winning strategy for a variety of complex legal issues, including choice of law, personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, venue, and certain patent-specific issues, such as claim construction. A general understanding of patent law is helpful but not mandatory.
LAW 6949 - Biotechnology & Patent Law
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
This course emphasizes patent law principles and doctrines as applied to biotechnology, including pharmaceutical, patents. Although there will be some coverage of United States Patent and Trademark Office policies as well as biotechnology patent principles in non-U.S. jurisdictions, the focus will be on U.S. Federal Circuit and Supreme Court case law developments. Topics include patent eligibility of biotechnological inventions including diagnostics and “natural” products such as genes, claim strategies, written description, enablement, utility, best mode including requirements for biological deposits, inventorship, inherent anticipation, obviousness, infringement, and the intersection of patent and FDA regimes for small molecules and biologics.
LAW 6402 - Food and Drug Law
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
The primary focus of the class will be on the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the FDA. In addition, time will be spent on specific food and drug aspects of other areas of the law. For example, the class will review the special rules and cases in the product liability field relating to food and drugs and the interface between food and drug regulation and subjects such as environmental law, the practice of medicine, and free choice in medical care.