If you are a young lawyer looking to choose a specialty, you might want to consider intellectual property law. With the ongoing patent wars between hi-tech companies, the emphasis on IP and patents has never been greater, and businesses are realizing the value of strong IP lawyers.
Companies like Nokia, HTC, Google, Microsoft, Apple and other technology companies have been embroiled in patent litigation, facing off against each other and against non-practicing entities. Because of the millions of dollars at stake in these suits, companies are seeking out IP attorneys for in-house roles and as outside counsel as well.
Some law schools have special programs for aspiring attorneys who are interested in intellectual property. Stanford, for example, offers a number of courses on the topic of patents, trademarks, copyrights and other IP topics. Another school with a strong intellectual property program is Boston University, which offers a specialized master of law degree in intellectual property law.
Because these large technology companies have international footprints, many of these specialized courses focus on international perspectives on intellectual property. Stanford offers a master’s degree in law, science and technology, which focuses on the technology space with an emphasis on international cultural exchange. Schools outside of the U.S., like the School of Law at Queen Mary, University of London offers courses for IP lawyers as well as non-lawyer courses intended for scientists and patent writers.
The takeaway from this is that intellectual property law is an important specialty, and it will only continue to grow in prominence. Law schools realize this, and businesses are seeing the value in having people on staff or on retainer that know the space inside and out.
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