2007 Archive

Boalt’s Intellectual Property Program Recognized by U.S. News

For the tenth straight year, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Boalt's intellectual property (IP) program the best in the country.

What distinguishes Boalt's program above all others? First, there's a roster of renowned faculty.

"We have an outstanding array of scholars who are actively engaged in extending the horizons of high-tech law and a reputation for excellent conferences and workshops on the cutting-edge IP issues," says Pam Samuelson, a Berkeley Center for Law & Technology (BCLT) director and Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law.

Boalt's law and technology curriculum encompasses IP-focused courses on topics as diverse as antitrust, high-tech mergers and acquisitions, stem cell issues–even wine law. Students who pursue a concentrated course of study in these areas can earn a certificate in law and technology.

Supplementing Boat's comprehensive IP course offerings is the research work carried on at the BCLT. Founded in 1996 by two of its current directors, Professors Peter S. Menell and Robert P. Merges, BCLT's research agenda is as varied and far-reaching as its faculty. A selective list of BCLT's various research initiatives includes:

  • software patents;
  • surveillance networks and privacy issues;
  • economic effects of indirect copyright liability;
  • competition law and innovation in developing countries;
  • licensing practices and their impact on copyright law;
  • telecommunications surveillance;
  • privacy on the Internet;
  • section 102(b) of the Copyright Act.

The Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic is another facet of Boalt's reputation in the fields of high technology and intellectual property. Through its advocacy in precedent-setting IP cases, the clinic is training the next generation of lawyers and policy-makers. At the same time, the clinic plays an important role in defining and shaping emerging technologies and technology policy.

"BCLT formulates legal and policy proposals and recommendations designed to mitigate or eliminate impediments to innovation and entrepreneurial investment," explains Robert Barr, BCLT's executive director. "At the same time, the clinic focuses on current and significant IP cases which will ultimately shape the landscape of innovation."

Under Barr's stewardship, BCLT continues to recruit leaders in the field of intellectual property law. Professors Paul Schwartz and Molly Van Houweling are relatively recent additions to the Boalt's IP research and teaching corps.

Schwartz calls his colleagues, simply, "a dream team."

Van Houweling concurs: "I was thrilled by the opportunity to join Boalt. As a junior faculty member interested in information technology and intellectual property law, the myriad activities organized by BCLT help me reach beyond my own scholarship to engage with practitioners, technologists, and policymakers who are involved with the most pressing issues of the information age."

"Of course, the excitement about these issues is generated in large part–and rubs off on–our students, making for stimulating classroom conversations," Van Houweling says.

Besides exerting its influence upon the Bay Area's culture of innovation, Boalt's IP program maintains a substantial presence on national and international stages. BCLT is currently collaborating with colleagues in South Korea, France, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

Programs like the IP Scholars Conference, held every August, bring together law and technology thought leaders from around the country. Organized with the Berkeley Technology Law Journal and three other law schools, BCLT's Annual Symposium, to be held in March 2008, will focus on patent law, IP and entrepreneurship.

It all adds up to consistent and well-earned recognition for Boalt's IP program, the leading light in the IP field.