Intellectual Property & Technology Law Clinic
The Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic is the newest clinical program in the George Washington University Law Schools Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics. In the new Clinic, students will practice as intellectual property law counsel on behalf of individual inventors, entrepreneurs, authors, artists, and other clients needing IP legal assistance who would not otherwise be able to afford counsel. Students will learn to navigate the patent and trademark prosecution systems, the copyright registration process, and will also gain experience representing clients in copyright proceedings before the recently created Copyright Claims Board.
The Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic focuses on the protection of intellectual property and the use of technology. Students will have the opportunity to select either the patent track or the trademark track, which includes some copyright practice. Students selecting the trademark track do not need an engineering or science degree. Despite the selected track, students may be exposed to a wide range of IP matters. Under the supervision of experienced faculty, student attorneys may represent clients on business law and IP matters, such as operating entity selection and preparation of appropriate documents; contract drafting, including IP license agreements; patent and trademark searching, clearing, application drafting, filing, and prosecution; copyright registration; legislative and administrative advocacy; and general IP strategy. The Clinic will provide services to support people of color and clients in communities who have been historically and intentionally excluded from access to economic opportunity, as well as those that have the potential of positively impacting the social good. Clients may include solo inventors, entrepreneurs, authors, artists, musicians, non-profits, and other clients needing representation but who lack the resources to pay for services.
Credits: 6 letter-graded credits (one semester)
Types of Matters/Cases: Patent and trademark matters at various stages of the prosecution process, as well copyright registration and counseling matters.
Skills Gained: case intake, client interviewing and counseling, IP research, application drafting, legal drafting
Prerequisite or Co-requisite: Evidence (Evidence is only required for those that wish to participate in any administrative litigation matters)
Prerequisite: Must be 2L and above;
- Patent Track: Patent Law (Required); Patent Strategies and Practice (Law 6476) (Recommended)
- Trademark/Copyright Track: Trademark Law (Law 6474) (Required); Copyright Law (Recommended)
Additional Application Requirements: None
Selection Process: Application review
- Information for Prospective Clients
The client must complete the Intellectual Property & Technology Clinic Client Application before they are eligible for consideration:
- The clinic requires all prospective clients to attend an initial consultation before we will accept a case. After the initial consultation, the director in conjunction with the students who conducted the interview, will make a decision on whether the clinic can accept the case.
- Accepted clients will be notified by telephone, email or U.S. mail of our decision. Whether or not we can accept a case depends on a variety of factors such as the complexity of the case, and the size and variety in our case load.
- Once a case has been accepted, clinic student attorneys will work with the client to prepare and file, if necessary, legal papers with the appropriate government agencies. The client will be solely responsible for paying any filing fees and other costs associated with their representation. The Clinic will prepare a Retainer Agreement with the client, specifying the scope of legal work to be completed. Clients agree to be represented by law students working under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Due to the educational nature of the Clinic, the client is expected to commit to actively engaging in the legal assistance process by maintaining communication with the Clinic students assigned to their case with corrections or feedback, and attending scheduled Clinic meetings or calling the Clinic or the student(s) assigned to their case if they should need to cancel a scheduled meeting. We reserve the right to end our relationship with the client if he or she is not complying with our requests for information or neglects to contact us when they cannot attend a scheduled meeting.
- Legal services are provided on a short-term basis. We will keep the information clients discuss with us confidential. However, there may be instances where we will seek the client's permission to share information for the client's benefit with other organizations such referral services or the media. Cases will be discussed by students enrolled in the course and with the supervising attorney.
- The clinic cannot serve as ongoing legal counsel for a business. Draft or final documents can usually be delivered within several weeks, depending on the complexity of the case and the client's diligence and attention to the case.
- The services provided by the Clinic take place during the George Washington University Law School’s academic year (i.e., from September through April of each year). The Clinic does not accept new cases in the summer.
If you are interested our legal services please complete and submit our Intellectual Property & Technology Clinic Client Application.
- Information for Students
Clinic students take primary responsibility for all client matters, under the close supervision of an experienced practitioner. Specific tasks may include counseling clients and drafting various IP documents, including applications filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office or the Copyright Office; legal research and analysis; and IP Policy work. Students leave the Clinic with enhanced advocacy, reasoning, and drafting skills.
- Seminar & Faculty Supervision
All Clinic students are required to attend a weekly two-hour seminar. This seminar will focus on substantive law topics related to the practice of intellectual property and technology law, as well as lawyering skills. Clinic faculty provide intensive instruction in legal ethics; copyright, patent, and trademark law and practice; licensing; and business law fundamentals. During the seminar, students participate in exercises designed to develop and refine essential lawyering skills, such as client counseling and interviewing, legal document drafting, client communication, and legal problem solving. Students will meet with their supervisors on a weekly basis outside of the seminar to review and discuss case strategy and client counseling. Supervisors review and provide feedback on all documents and on all client counseling sessions. Supervisors may accompany students to various client meetings. Finally, students will submit reflective papers at least four times during the semester to help them engage in critical reflection.
- Time Commitment
Over the years, students have found six-credit clinics to be one of the most intense, exciting, and rewarding experiences of their academic careers. The benefits are substantial – by the time students complete the Clinic, they are likely to have gained as much experience as most attorneys in their first year of law practice. Consequently, enrollment in this practice-based Clinic requires that students commit to fulfilling extensive demands on their time. Students will be expected to devote an average of 21 hours per week to their Clinic work. The work will ebb and flow during the semester, requiring substantially more work when preparing for a matter and less work between matters. Personal travel during the semester is sometimes limited and must be pre-approved by Clinic faculty. We ask that students be prepared to be as flexible as possible since much of the work of the Clinic will be deadline driven, and the failure to meet deadlines could be significantly detrimental to a client. Student Application Information Students will be selected based on their potential to provide high quality, client-centered legal services to our client population. Faculty will consider students’ interest in and commitment to intellectual property law practice. Students will be selected for either the patent track or the trademark track. AN ENGINEERING OR SCIENCE BACKGROUND IS NOT NEEDED TO APPLY FOR THE TRADEMARK TRACK.
Interested students must fill out the Uniform Clinic Application on the Law School's student portal website under "Clinics," where a complete set of application instructions are posted at least a few weeks prior to registration. Students should explain in their applications their interest in IP practice and their interest in representing clients from the demographic described above. Students may contact Professor Darden at any time to discuss the Clinic or to ask specific questions. Permission of the instructor is required prior to registration. If enrolled, students must complete forms to obtain a student practice certification process. Students participating in the Clinic will be required to attend a two -to-three day Bootcamp Training Program held prior to or in the beginning of their Clinic semester. We will hold intensive preparatory sessions to get students up to speed on the substantive law and practical skills needed so they can be prepared to counsel clients as soon as possible.
Professor Darden is the Director of the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic. From 2016 to 2022, Professor Darden directed the Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic at Suffolk University Law School where she supervised students representing individuals, solo entrepreneurs, startups, and non-profits with business entity formation matters, intellectual property protection and enforcement, and trademark litigation in federal court and before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Professor Darden also taught the Clinic seminar, as well as non-clinical courses, including Intellectual Property Survey, Patent Law, and Trademark Law and Practice. Professor Darden’s scholarship focuses on creating a more accessible, equitable, and just intellectual property protection system in the U.S. Additionally, Professor Darden has written a casebook on Trademark Law and Practice. She has also written articles and given many presentations on strategically using intellectual property to grow and sustain a business. Professor Darden is a CIP2 Scholar and a former Edison Intellectual Property Fellow. Prior to joining academia, Professor Darden was Chief IP Counsel for a consumer products company and law firm partner, where she managed the patent prosecution document and trained new associates and paralegals. Professor Darden is registered patent attorney and has extensive experience in patent, trademark, and copyright law.