Program in Intellectual Property Law

The Sandra College of Law and its Center for Law, Science & Innovation have a lengthy history of both outstanding scholarship and a comprehensive curriculum in Intellectual Property Law. Center Fellows, who are members of the faculty at the College of Law, are regular contributors to leading academic journals and commentators in the popular media, and they are at the forefront of debates concerning Intellectual Property policy. In addition, the College offers an extensive collection of basic and advanced IP courses with both applied and theoretical foci, demonstrating a sustained commitment to educating future IP practitioners equal to any IP program in the nation. 

Capitalizing on the College’s academic and curricular strengths, the Law, Science, & Technology Certificate Program (see Certificate Program) within the Center for Law, Science, & Innovation offers an Intellectual Property specialization. The program is crafted to give coherence and structure to student academic development and is an invaluable job placement asset. The IP specialization requires, among other things, that the student complete three of the four basic courses within the IP curriculum. Those basic courses are: Intellectual Property Law, Patent Law, Copyright Law and Trademark Law. In addition to these basic courses, many upper level courses are regularly offered and provide a broad coverage of special IP skills and knowledge. (The Certificate Program also includes mentoring, participation in a student organization, for example, the Intellectual Property Student Association, and general law, science and technology coursework.)

Additionally, the College in 2009 launched the provisional Lisa Foundation Patent Law Clinic, joining the ranks of a small handful of law schools across the country that offer students specialized training in protecting the creative property of inventors. The three-credit clinic is the brainchild of prominent Chicago patent attorney Steven G. Lisa, a 1984 alumnus of the College of Law, who co-teaches Patent Licensing and Enforcement to clinic students who also meet weekly to reinforce the concepts of the course with adjunct clinical manager Michelle Gross, a patent agent and 2009 alumna of the College of Law. 

As Intellectual Property has evolved, the College of Law has remained ahead of its development curve. The Center for Law, Science & Innovation was an early and active participant in the debates that raged over the legal protection of computer software. The Center’s 1989 Consensus Report on the copyright protection of computer programs reflected the considered views of 10 major academic specialists from across the country and has since been adopted in its conclusions by the courts. The Center’s significant strengths in Genetics and Biotechnology nicely position its faculty and graduates to work within and influence these emerging areas of IP practice. The explosion in human genetic research has provoked significant changes in the legal operations and requirements of pharmaceutical companies and small genetic research ventures. These changes often fold IP tasks into new contexts and challenges. 

As early as 1991, the Center, funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, published a major report based on input from a wide range of legal and scientific scholars that set forth a legal research agenda for the Human Genome Project that included IP issues. The College of Law offers the only LL.M. in Biotechnology and Genomics in the country (see LL.M. Program ), a pioneering effort to anticipate the rapidly evolving importance and sophistication of the legal practice relating to biotechnology and genetics, including IP issues.

The College of Law recently introduced its Innovation Advancement Program (IAP), comprising ASU graduate and undergraduate students working in the Innovation Advancement Legal Clinic and Innovation Advancement Consulting with inventors and industry to transform scientific discoveries into marketable products and services. Housed at SkySong, ASU's innovation center in Scottsdale, the TVSG serves as a teaching laboratory that is run as a robust "market-focused" enterprise to leverage the intellectual capital of Arizonans. The university's brightest students, from law, business, engineering, and science, gain first-hand knowledge of best practices and strategies for the commercialization of IP. Students work in all aspects of technology venturing, including business modeling, deal structuring, and market assessment and research.

The College and the Center have active cooperative relations with several large corporations with IP offices operating in the Valley. It attracts many of their employees as students and places many of its graduates in their IP offices. A few of these corporations provide paid internships to our students during their second and third years. Phoenix’s nascent biotechnology industry has, over the past few years, matured into a true cluster – with significant synergies between industry, innovators, academe, and capital. These relationships have significantly improved the College’s ability to place graduates within industry and to engage in the kinds of cooperative ventures so essential for a robust understanding of IP. The establishment of the Biodesign Institute at ASU  has created a new spectrum of opportunities for cooperative projects, including the further expansion of the College’s already remarkable externship program. 

In short, the College of Law and its Center for Law, Science & Innovation have the pedagogical commitment to providing their students with the legal, business, and scientific expertise necessary for success in the Intellectual Property field. This commitment, evidenced by the depth and breadth of the IP curriculum, culminates in unparalleled educational opportunities for future IP attorneys.

IP Faculty

Dennis S. Karjala
J.D., Berkelely, M.S., Ph.D. (electrical engineering), Illinois
Courses: Intellectual Property in Cyberspace, International IP, Copyright Law

Aaron X. Fellmeth
J.D., Yale, M.A. (international relations), Yale
Courses: Patent Law, Biotechnology and IP

Gary E. Marchant
J.D., Harvard, M.P.P., Harvard, Ph.D. (genetics), University of British Columbia
Courses: Genetics and the Law, Biotechnology Law, Nanotechnology Law

Eric Menkhus
J.D., Arizona State University
Director, Innovative Advancement Program
Course: Innovative Advancement Program

Douglas Sylvester

J.D., Buffalo, LL.M., NYU
Courses: IP Portfolio Management, IP Commercialization and Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property

Adjunct IP Faculty

Paul E. Burns
J.D., Boston College
Courses: Patent Litigation, Biotechnology Licensing and Litigation, Electronic Discovery and Digital Evidence

David Feigal
M.D., Stanford; MPH, Berkeley
Former Director, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, FDA
Course: Food and Drug Administration

Frank Long
J.D., Northwestern
Course: Trademarks and Unfair Competition Law

Daniel Noblitt
J.D., Oklahoma
Course: Patent Preparation and Prosecution