The rapidly changing field of intellectual property continues to gain interest from those pursuing law degrees. With Atlanta being the hub of the southeast when it comes to anything from science and technology to entertainment and media, it’s no surprise there is also a huge IP legal community based in the city as well.
“One of the biggest questions I hear is, ‘do I need a scientific or engineering background to practice IP Law?’ and the answer is no, you do not,” said Kirsten Fehlan (J.D. ’22), president of the Intellectual Property Law Society at Georgia State Law. “There are students represented from all backgrounds. From arts and entertainment to sports, economics, science and engineering, it’s a very diverse representation of students.”
Georgia State Law recognizes this demand through its Center for Intellectual Property. The college not only offers a certificate in IP, but also provides an array of courses to cater to students that are interested in a variety of subject areas. Listed here are several ways the College of Law stands out in Intellectual Property Law.
The College of Law offers a robust curriculum of nearly 20 intellectual property courses including patents, trademarks & unfair competition, and copyrights – each consisting of a separate course – with advanced courses in each of those areas of the law, too. More classes continue to be added each year, including in areas adjacent to intellectual property such as cyber security with Professor Jeffrey Vagle and entertainment, sports and media law with Professor Mo Ivory. All IP courses are also available to students in the part-time program. Professor Michael Landau, who started the IP curriculum at GSU, is the current author of Lindey on Entertainment, Publishing & the Arts: Agreements and the Law, an eleven-volume treatise that is one of the premier publications in the practice. Landau also is a past recipient of the “IP Legends Award.”
About 30 students have graduated with the IP certificate since it was created in 2015. The certificate gives students a streamlined plan for IP courses and a faculty advisor to help them through the process.
The moot court team at Georgia State Law participates in several IP competitions each year. The competitions include the Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court Competition, the Cardozo Entertainment Competition and the Lefkowitz Trademark Competition. To prepare for these competitions, Georgia State students are coached by a regular group of alumni that practice IP law in Atlanta.
The Center for Intellectual Property also regularly allows students to participate in a summer program in Washington, D.C. Students are placed in positions In the United States Patent and Trademark Office, while also taking an externship seminar.
Intellectual Property Law Society
Within the College of Law is a very active Intellectual Property Law Society. In addition to regularly hosting panel discussions with leaders in the local IP community, IPLS has an annual mentorship program where each student member is assigned with an attorney in Atlanta who practices IP in a similar area to their interests. Students are able to participate every year, meaning they could have several mentors by the time they graduate.
“This has been great for developing networks and job offers come out of it regularly,” said Professor Yaniv Heled, co-director of the Center for Intellectual Property.
Alumni & Networking
Georgia State Law also has a strong network of alumni who practice in Intellectual Property and are very supportive of current students. Beyond IPLS, students may be able to get involved through the Atlanta IP Inn of Court and the Georgia Intellectual Property Alliance, for which the College of Law is a founding member.
“I think that Atlanta in general has a unique community, because there’s a ton of IP attorneys and a lot of Georgia State grads who are very willing to help students,” Fehlan said. “Even if it’s not job related, but just to help students determine what they’re interested in and talk to them about different IP topics.”
Written by Mara Thompson