Patents…trademarks…copyrights…licensing…trade secrets. They are the lifeblood of commerce. It seems so simple: An inventor formulates an idea and forges it into reality, bearing the cost and risk. He should enjoy the fruits of his labor, right?
If only it were that easy. From art to code, your creation can be distributed or integrated elsewhere without your knowledge. In this age of disruption, lines are continuously being re-drawn as global markets expand and technology creates easier access – and larger openings for abuse. As a result, the law must balance intellectual protection with creative freedom, tamping down both the inclination to stifle competition and the menace of unfettered usage.
Which processes, techniques, or end products can be patented? Who is primarily liable for end users’ infringements? Public domain…fair use…exposure…control. These are the questions and concepts inherent to intellectual property (IP) law. And it is issues like these that IP professors grapple with each day.
With the emergence of Silicon Valley as America’s innovation engine, it’s no surprise that three of the top intellectual property schools are clustered in the San Francisco Bay Area. With New York City serving as the traditional artistic, financial, and media hub and Washington, D.C., acting as the seat of political power, it is even less surprising that each city landed two schools in the top 10. If you consider Concord, New Hampshire, within Boston’s radius, then Beantown placed two schools in the top 10 too.
As part of its 2015 law school rankings, US News and World Report ranked specialty tracks like intellectual property. Unlike its overall ranking, which weighs criteria like placement rates, LSAT scores, and assessments from law school deans, tenured faculty, lawyers, and judges, US News calculates its specialty rankings strictly from votes submitted by legal scholars, with each voter able to nominate up to 15 schools. Based on the number of votes cast for particular schools, here is U.S. News’ ranking of the top 10 law schools for intellectual property:
(See following page for TippingTheScales’ table of the best programs in intellectual property)