Munich Summer Program Course Descriptions

Please take note of the evaluation methods for each course, noted at the end of the course description.

The Federal Circuit (International Perspective)
Professor John Whealan

This course will examine the roles of courts that have been established to decide intellectual property disputes, and patent law disputes in particular.  It will focus in particular in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, but will also compare that court and its patent jurisprudence with specialized courts in Europe and Asia.  The course will consider the advantages and disadvantages of courts that are limited in subject matter jurisdiction. This course will discuss the unique role of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit as the only national court of appeals organized on the basis of subject matter rather than geography

Topics include the creation of the Federal Circuit and an overview of its varied jurisdictions (e.g., government contracts, constitutional takings, and international trade). Emphasis on the contributions of the Federal Circuit to patent law, and in particular its administration of eligibility, bars, “nonobviousness,” equivalents, and other modern patent law problems. Comparative study of the patent jurisprudence of the Federal Circuit and other nations’ courts. (Examination)

Internet Law
Professor Marketa Trimble

In this course we will analyze a variety of internet law topics through the prism of a single theme: the conflict between the territoriality of political-legal structures and the ubiquity of the internet. The architecture of the internet, at least in its initial form, defied the territorial limits within which national legal systems operate; however, national legal systems do not yield easily to the ubiquity of the medium. The goal of the course is to investigate whether and how the architecture of the internet has affected the territorial functioning of national legal systems and whether and how the territoriality of national legal systems has shaped the internet since its inception as a mass medium of communication and commerce. The topics discussed in the course will be, for example, the scope of countries’ jurisdiction and power on the internet and over the internet, the reinstatement of borders through geolocation and geoblocking on the internet, and alternatives to national legal systems as forms of governance of the internet and on the internet. These are the issues that define the internet law of the current decade. (Examination)

International Intellectual Property Exhaustion
Professor Dan Burk

International trade in goods protected by copyright, patent or trademark law has become a matter of enormous economic significance. This course will focus on the issue of whether and when owners of intellectual property rights can continue to control the distribution of goods that embody copyrighted works, inventions, or trademarks, and conversely, of whether and when those rights are "exhausted."  Particular attention will be given to the geographic scope of exhaustion, which gives rise to issues of "parallel importation" and "grey goods," and the economic and social policy considerations underlying exhaustion policies. The course will cover all three major categories of intellectual property and review the response of the U.S., the E.U., and other legal systems. (Examination)

Information Privacy Law
Professor Mikolaj Rogowski and Professor Ray Thomas

This course will introduce the theoretical background of data protection/privacy as well as explore the key legal concepts and relevant case law. We will examine data protection/privacy under U.S. law with a comparative view of European Union law, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the E-Privacy Directive & Regulation. The course will also include discussions on data protection/privacy issues in the context of the Internet, electronic communications, and social media.