The 2015 spring semester’s May-intersession at the University of Iowa College of Law saw the return of the International Intellectual Property Law course. Thomas Cotter, Briggs and Morgan Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, taught the classroom component of the course, with Iowa Law professor Jason Rantanen providing course development and logistic support. Professor Cotter, who earned his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School, specializes in the areas of domestic and international intellectual property law, including that of patent remedies, which are the subject of his recent book Comparative Patent Remedies: A Legal and Economic Analysis and his frequently updated weblog.

Students in the course were introduced to two primary areas: (1) a comparison between U.S. and foreign patent, trademark, and copyright law, and (2) international law regulating intellectual property (IP)—in particular, treaties and other sources of law including the Paris Convention, Berne Convention and the TRIPs Agreement along with implementation into U.S. and other countries’ domestic law. The course was taught from May 11-15, 2015, giving students an opportunity to enrich the scope of their IP Law knowledge without increasing the demands on their full-semester course schedule.

The course began with an overview of fundamental intellectual property law in the United States, the European Union, other leading countries, and the relevant international bodies governing international IP law. Professor Cotter walked students through a comparative development of intellectual property law related to patents, copyright, and trademark, carefully highlighting key similarities and differences existing in the international populace. The next two days of the course involved an in depth look at the Paris Convention and Berne Convention, respectively. In the regular classroom and a breakout session, Professors Cotter and Rantanen utilized hypotheticals requiring each student to apply key treaty provisions as they relate to participating countries’ respective domestic IP laws and policies. The final day of the course covered the TRIPs Agreement, employing a series of hypotheticals that relayed the key provisions and avenues of international enforcement of IP law.

The course interested students because it offered an opportunity to “study international treaties,” said Duckchul Kim, a 2L student at the University of Iowa College of Law. Prior to taking the International IP course, Kim also took Introduction to Intellectual Property, Copyright, and the Patent Prosecution Seminar courses offered during the full-semester sessions at Iowa. Kim added that he appreciated how Professor Cotter “showed how to think to solve legal issues, which was so impressive.” Sarah Dickhut, a 1L Iowa Law student, enjoyed the “very neatly organized overview of the important issues controlling international intellectual property.” Dickhut added that she recommends the International Intellectual Property “course for anyone interested in Corporate Law, International Law, and/or Intellectual Property Law because the issues addressed in the curriculum discuss or have profound implications for corporate law, human rights, and of course, intellectual property, on a global scale.”

Alex Lodge | June 11, 2015