The Center for Intellectual Property Law
Leading the Way in Intellectual Property Legal Education
For 71 years, The John Marshall Law School has been providing cutting-edge instruction in intellectual property law.
It all began in 1940, when John Marshall's Dean Edward T. Lee initiated a one-year Patent Law Course in cooperation with the Chicago Patent Law Society (now the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago). By 1943, the course included more than 30 lectures in patent law, trademarks, copyrights and unfair trade secrets, and the law school was awarding a new degree, the Master of Patent Law (MPL).
The founders of the intellectual property program at John Marshall had considerable foresight in giving special recognition to this area of the law. Of course, what they envisioned has changed and grown considerably over time because of the nature of America's inventions and how we use those inventions. There wasn't an inkling that patents would be awarded for the diabetic's insulin pump, the myriad uses of plastics or the personal computer.
The field of intellectual property continues to grow at a significant pace. The number of patents issued in the last 15 years has grown tremendously and that means there's more litigation and law students and practicing attorneys have shown a real interest in IP law, especially in the last decade.
Throughout the last 71 years, the intellectual property program at The John Marshall Law School has grown in response to the growth in the practice area itself. The program has expanded its offerings while remaining constant to its ideals of bringing in the top practitioners as adjunct faculty members to boost an internationally recognized faculty.
The John Marshall Law School was the first law school in the country to develop an on-line law review devoted to intellectual property law, The John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law.
The Law School has also extended its reach around the globe, partnering with the People's Republic of China training patent attorneys at the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) in Beijing. Today more than 200 of the attorneys at SIPO have John Marshall certificates or diplomas.
The Center keeps its students current with cross-curriculum courses offered in conjunction with the Center for Information Technology and Privacy Law and expanded offerings that include Publishing Law, Entertainment Law and Sports Law.
The Annual Conference on Developments in Intellectual Property Law saw its debut in the mid-1950s. At that time, the law school began offering a day-long conference in patent law that brought national, and eventually international, speakers to John Marshall.
Each February, more than 200 attorneys would gather for the annual conference directed by attorney Donald W. Banner, director of the Patent Law Division of The Lawyers Institute at John Marshall. Over the years, Banner, who had served as U.S. Commissioner of Patents & Trademarks, was able to bring high profile attorneys to Chicago for the programs.
Over the past 55 years, the topics have reflected the change in the practice of IP law. For example, in 1959, Chicago attorney John Paul Stevens, who eventually served as Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court, delivered a presentation on "Sect. 2 & the Patent ‘Monopoly’" focusing on the importation and sale of French products sold within the U.S. by American companies "for the purpose of excluding competition…" in violation of the Sherman Act.
By 1987, then University of Washington Professor Donald Chisum was examining "The Patentability of Algorithms" and the benefits to computer programmers' ability to protect algorithms. At the 2004 conference, topics included Internet piracy and trademarks and the Internet and at last year's Conference, Antony McShane (Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP) spoke on Protecting Real Trademarks in the Virtual World – Trademarks and Social Media.
The John Marshall Law School takes great pride in its intellectual property programs and their traditions. But we're not standing still. As the law continues to evolve, John Marshall will be at the forefront, addressing the latest topics, bringing in the very best faculty to share their expertise with our students, and Leading the Way in Intellectual Property Law for the next generation.
William T. McGrath
Acting Director, Center for Intellectual Property Law