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Summary of IBL Curriculum

The Innovation, Business and Law Center curriculum is comprised of courses that focus on laws relating to entrepreneurship, creativity, competition, technology and corporations.  Major fields of study include intellectual property law, antitrust law, business associations such as corporations and partnerships, and laws governing transactions among those associations.  These areas build on fundamental legal concepts such as property rules, contracts, and tort liability, which law students study in their first year.  Those fundamental legal concepts provide the foundation for almost all of today’s markets; the fields encompassed by the IBL Center’s curriculum provide the structure.

Three primary attributes define the IBL Center’s approach to teaching business and innovation law.  First, because of the College of Law’s strong focus on intensive faculty supervised experiences, the IBL curriculum emphasizes a high degree of student-faculty engagement and small group work on substantive legal problems.  Second, because in the real world lawyers are part of a larger ecosystem in which they interact with an array of people and other disciplines, the IBL center promotes engagement with students, faculty, and professionals outside the College of Law.  Third, because each law student’s goals and background are different, the IBL curriculum provides students with substantial flexibility in designing their own experience, guided by faculty mentors and the advice of former students.  Examples of IBL curriculum that embody these attributes include:

Iowa Medical Innovation Group Seminar:  The Iowa Medical Innovation Group is an interdisciplinary venture composed of students from the colleges of lawmedicineengineering, and business. During the course of each project, a team of students from these four colleges originates an idea for a medical device; designs it and produces figures or, if possible, a prototype; seeks a patent; and designs a business model for marketing it, together with the required legal documents. Students are expected to participate to some degree in all aspects of project development, although the principal obligation of law students is the procurement of necessary intellectual property rights, articles of incorporation, other business association documents, contracts, and licensing agreements.

Students discuss their experience in IMIG

Medical Tutorial for Law Students: The Medical Tutorial for Law Students, conducted during the January intersession of each year, allows eight law students to round with physicians at The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and observe first-hand the delivery of health care in four clinical settings: neurology, pediatrics ICU, psychiatry, and medical psychiatry. Students observe how medical and legal issues become intertwined. For example, in neurology, students encounter patients dealing with end-of-life care and organ donation issues. In psychiatry, students encounter patients involved in civil commitment proceedings. In addition, the students are exposed to numerous didactic lectures over a broad range of health care and health law issues that dovetail with the traditional law school curriculum. Over the course of the semester, students prepare research papers on topics of their choice that are then presented and critiqued when the tutorial resumes the following April.

Intellectual Property AdvocacyThis course integrates the teaching of substantive intellectual property law with the development of both oral and written advocacy skills in the IP field. It is an advanced and intensive course designed to build on earlier learning in order to prepare students for the practice of law.

The course is oriented around preparing students to compete in one of several intellectual property and corporate law moot court competitions including the Saul Lefkowitz Trademark Law competition, the Giles Sutherland Rich Patent Law competition, and the BMI/Cardozo Copyright Law competition.  For each competition, and to the extent allowed by the rules for that competition, students first meet to discuss substantive law issues and cases that are likely to arise in the competition problem. Then team members for that competition draft and re-draft sections of their briefs, and workshop those briefs. The teams also engage in numerous practice oral argument sessions, with practicing intellectual property lawyers acting as judges. Finally, the teams participate in their moot court competitions, which in the past have been held in Chicago, New York, and the Bay Area.

Students discuss their experiences in Intellectual Property Advocacy

Kaufman Securities Moot Court Competition: This program allows students with a specific interest in securities law to compete in a national appellate advocacy competition in New York City. The program is administered by Fordham Law School, and recent final round judges include several Justices of the United States Supreme Court. Participating students will develop greater understanding of substantive issues in securities litigation, hone their appellate advocacy skills, and expand their network of contacts within the securities law field.    

Student Curriculum Development Template

In order to provide students with a tool to use in planning their advanced legal coursework, the IBL faculty developed a form that allows students to structure their own set of course and extracurricular selections.  The faculty encourages students to actively engage with this process, using the form as a starting-off point and revising it periodically throughout law school.  It may also be a useful document to bring to meetings with faculty mentors.  The template is available here: FileIBL Curriculum Template.xlsx and PDF iconIBL Curriculum Template PDF.pdf.

Course Listing and Previews

The below links provide further details on the College of Law courses included within the IBL curriculum.  Courses marked with an asterisk are typically offered every other year.

Foundational Courses

Intermediate Doctrinal Classes

Seminars and Practica