Intellectual Property Certificate (JD)

No area of law today is more dynamic than intellectual property law and Connecticut is at the epicenter of the emerging information economy. Located between Boston's Route 128 and New York's Silicon Alley, it is the home of many of the country's leading technology firms, including United Technologies, Xerox, and General Electric. Four major pharmaceutical companies, including the research facility for the world's largest pharmaceutical, and a cluster of other research institutions, create a robust presence for pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Connecticut is the first in the nation in the number of patents issued per capita. It is one of the top ten states in the country for the number of domain names registered. With such a variety of information economy industries; its strong tradition of Yankee ingenuity going back to the Industrial Revolution; and its location in the heart of New England, it is not surprising that Connecticut has recently been ranked one of the five leading states in preparing for the new economy.

The Program in Intellectual Property at the University of Connecticut prepares students to participate in this new information economy. It draws upon the strength of the Law School as the leading public law school in the Northeast United States; the school's commitment to international law, financial services and insurance law; and New England's and Connecticut's significant place in the new economy.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the JD Certificate in Intellectual Property, students will be able to:

  • Identify and formulate the substantive law, legal theories, and policy issues central to intellectual property law.
  • Establish conceptual and strategic links across a wide array of intellectual property regimes.
  • Apply the relevant domestic and international intellectual property legal rules to the protection and regulation of knowledge with special attention to the variety of global jurisdictions and the introduction of new technologies.
  • Demonstrate the professional skills that are generally regarded as necessary to effectively practice as attorneys in domestic US and international institutions that address intellectual property rights.
JD Student Requirements

There is no application procedure for the certificate in Intellectual Property Law, though students are encouraged to announce their intention to seek the certificate early in their studies. Additionally, students are not required to begin taking their intellectual property courses in a certain point during their law study.  All JD candidates for the certificate in Intellectual Property must complete:

•(15) credit hours of courses, including the introductory Intellectual Property course plus at least one regime class (see below) or, alternatively, two regime classes. Students will also be required to take an intellectual property seminar.

•Students may include in the (15) credit hours one class from a list of adjacent field courses.

•A supervised writing (which meets the Law School's upper-class writing requirement) project under the direction of a member of the Intellectual Property faculty or, alternatively, a supervised externship in intellectual property, with a significant writing component; or participation in the Intellectual Property Clinic.


At the core of intellectual property are its traditional regimes: copyright, trademark, and patent, as well as trade secrets, moral rights for artists, and rights of publicity.

•Trade Secrets: protects concrete information of economic value which is the subject of reasonable efforts under the circumstances to maintain secrecy. This protection is most commonly provided under state law regimes, and does not require any formalities.

•Trademark: provides for the protection of any word, symbol, or device adopted and used to identify goods and distinguish them from others. As established under the Federal Lanham Act, trademark protection may attach through use, although registration affords procedural and remedial advantages.

•Rights of Publicity: grants an individual exclusive control over commercial use of his or her identity, including name, likeness, and performing style. These are protected as common law rights or through state statutes.

•Copyright: grants holder exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, or license his or her work. These rights arise automatically when an original work is fixed in a concrete medium of expression. As defined under the amended Copyright Act of 1976, the scope of copyright protection is limited in time and through such additional limitations as fair use.

•Patent: confers rights upon any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of nature. According to the Patent Act, a patent may be obtained only through filing a timely application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which will determine if the invention falls within the subject matter of patent, meets its three requirements-utility, novelty, and non-obviousness as a over the prior art, and includes an enabling description.

Courses in Adjacent Fields

The certificate is open to all JD students. Prior to graduating, you must submit the “Certificate Studies, Intention to Participate Form” form to the registrar’s office.


Professor Steven Wilf