Professor Bambauer's Patent Law course
Patent Litigation Fundamentals is designed for students who want to learn about patent litigation from either a litigation or business perspective. The course should appeal to students who are interested in technology-based litigation, those who are thinking of specializing in patent prosecution, as well as those who are interested in learning how to evaluate the risks and benefits associated with actual and potential patent suits from the perspective of a venture capitalist or business lawyer. No knowledge of patent law is expected or required, although Professor Bambauer's Patent Law course is recommended. A strong technical background is not necessary – I will explain in class the patents discussed in the course, to the extent they are directed to more than simple devices. This class will not focus on patent prosecution practice.
Format of Course:
Through lectures, class discussion, and written assignments, students taking the class will learn the fundamentals of patent litigation. By the conclusion of the course, they will have been exposed to, and learned how to handle at a basic level, those facets of patent litigation that are a central part of every patent case. The future patent prosecutor will develop an appreciation for how his/her patent will be scrutinized. The future litigator will acquire a basic understanding of the skills needed for patent litigation. The future business lawyer will better appreciate the considerations that are important when either representing or entering into a transaction with a technology-based company.
To make the learning process both effective and meaningful, the students will be exposed to patent litigation in the context of an actual lawsuit. Students will be divided into teams to represent either the patent holder or the putative infringer. They will represent their respective clients through each step of the litigation leading up to trial, including (as time permits):
• Reading a patent specification and claims and learning the distinction between "right to practice" and "right to exclude"
• Learning the basic ground rules for interpreting patent claims
• Acquiring an understanding of the accused device
• Performing the obligatory pre-suit investigation, including preliminary claim construction, infringement analysis, and validity analysis
• Drafting a Rule 11 opinion letter directed to the client
• Examining the factors important in making a decision about whether to advise your client to proceed with the lawsuit (assuming you represent the patentee)
• Preparing the complaint and answer, with a focus on what must be pleaded and how the allegations should be presented
• Revisiting validity by taking a closer look at what is "prior art" in the context of the patent-in-suit
• Preparing a final claim construction position and presenting it to the court in a Markman hearing
• Analyzing other defenses not based on prior art
• Conducting effective written discovery
• Conducting effective depositions
• Formulating a settlement position by addressing the probabilities of different outcomes
• Preparing the case for trial.
1) "Patent Law in a Nutshell (2d ed.)"
2) "Inspiration" software. Students can order Inspiration from Academic Superstore (academicsuperstore.com) for considerably less than the retail price.
3) Online readings drawn from the online course syllabus.
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Grading will be based on weekly written assignments directed to the class lectures and readings, the mock Markman hearing, and student participation.