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Fall 2023 Course

Patent Trial Advocacy

Prerequisites: There are no formal prerequisites or co-requisites, although an understanding of the rules of evidence is assumed for the trial at the end of the course. For this reason, students who are unfamiliar with the rules of evidence are encouraged to take Evidence simultaneously. No technical background or prior experience with patent law is required.

Exam Type: No Exam

This three-credit simulation course will allow students to act as trial counsel in a federal civil action, from the initiation of litigation through trial and judgment, in the unique context of a patent case. Patent trials present particular challenges for lawyers. Effective patent litigators must be strong courtroom advocates, but must also be able to teach technical concepts effectively to both judges and juries, all the while navigating the doctrinally complex and policy-driven world of patent law.

Students will prepare briefs, make oral arguments before a federal judge, take and defend depositions, develop and deliver opening and closing statements, and present and cross-examine witnesses. The course will follow a patent-focused hypothetical case through early stage litigation, a claim construction hearing, depositions, motions in limine, and trial. The first two thirds of the course will cover the pretrial phase, and the last third will be trial preparation, culminating in a student-litigated simulated patent jury trial. (Please note: portions of the jury trial may take place outside of the scheduled class block, but student schedules will be accommodated.)

The course will focus on a patent case as an example of a challenging civil trial, and students will get grounding in patent law as part of the simulation. The focus of the course will, however, be on teaching the broader litigation skills necessary to present technically and legally complex cases to judges and juries.