Teaching International Intellectual Property Law
28 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2007 Last revised: 9 Dec 2012
Intellectual property law was in the backwater only a few decades ago. The Section on Intellectual Property Law of the Association of American Law Schools was not even founded until the early 1980s, and the creation of intellectual property specialty programs has been only a recent phenomenon. As senior legal scholars reminisce, early in their career, they would have been lucky to find a school that would allow them to teach a class on intellectual property law. Although intellectual property law teaching has come of age in the past decade, international intellectual property law courses remain nonexistent in more than half of American law schools. Notwithstanding this limited interest, the momentum has picked up quickly, and international intellectual property law is slowly emerging to become a staple in the core intellectual property law curriculum.
As part of the Symposium on Teaching Intellectual Property Law, this essay reflects on the teaching of international intellectual property law. It begins by identifying three different stages in the development of an international intellectual property law course. Going from the pre-TRIPs era to the post-TRIPs era, this essay shows how the growing complexity of the international intellectual property regime has made teaching the subject increasingly challenging. The essay then focuses on this challenge and examines why international intellectual property law is taught in the first place, what materials teachers can cover, and how they can effectively present those materials. By offering both questions and suggestions, this essay invites readers to evaluate and rethink the design of an international intellectual property law course. It concludes with some bonus considerations that may be relevant to both teachers and administrators.
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