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Patent Law (Wagner)
Spring 2013   LAW 677-001  

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Meeting Times/Location
TR 3:00PM - 4:20PM
Silverman Hall 280

R. Polk Wagner

Professor of Law; Associate Dean
Additional Information

Course Concentrations
Intellectual Property and Technology Law
Health Law

Skills Training
Oral Presentations
Team Projects
Expository Writing

Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement


Course Continuity
Students are encouraged to stay home if you are ill or experience flu-like symptoms. If you miss a class for any reason, it is still your responsibility to make up the work missed.

I offer the following to students who miss class due to illness:

- I will make PowerPoint slides or other class materials routinely available on the course site to everyone in the class.

- When you are better, please make an appointment to meet with me and I will review/answer questions about what you missed.



In our modern technologically-based economy, the creation and enforcement of patent rights can make or break a business. With record numbers of patents being issued every year, the stakes for inventors (and, indeed, their lawyers) continue to increase, even as the patent law and its administration faces growing criticism. This course seeks to equip students with a detailed overview of the law and policy of the United States patent system. We'll organize our inquiry into four components. The first considers the justifications for (e.g., economic, moral, political) and creation of patent rights as well as the relationship between patent law and other "intellectual property" concepts. The second will delve into the details of the statutory requirements for patentability, with a focus on both the "black letter" law and the underlying policies. Third, we'll consider the scope and enforcement of patent rights, again considering how the policies expressed in the legal doctrine relate to the justifications for patent rights we discussed in section one. And finally, we'll conclude with a look at the subject matter of patents -- considering specifically the cases of biotechnology, computer software, and internet business models -- drawing together the ideas introduced throughout the course. Class exercises and simulations will be used throughout to highlight important concepts. Last year's syllabus and additional information can be found at


"The Law of Patents" by Nard
Edition: 2nd edition
Publisher: Aspen Pub
ISBN: 9780735596498