American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) is one of the world’s leading centers for the study of intellectual property and information law. Over a dozen full time faculty members specialize in every facet of the field, including internationally recognized scholars in each of the core subjects of Copyright, Patent, Trademark, and Trade Secrets. AUWCL was one of the first law schools in the country to offer courses on the international and comparative dimension of each of these fields. AUWCL faculty are also leading academics in the broader field of information law, including specialists in the intersection of intellectual property and Antitrust, Art Law, Communications, Cyberlaw, Fashion and Design, Food and Drug, Media, and Sports Law. Intellectual property issues often involve intersections with other fields in which AUWCL has leading programs, including Business Law, Health Law, Human Rights and International Trade and Investment.
Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property
AUWCL is home to the path-breaking Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP), an academic and research center promoting the public interest in intellectual property policy debates around the world. PIJIP hosts the U.S. affiliate of Creative Commons, engages in public impact research projects, brings together scholars and practitioners for numerous public events throughout the year, and publishes the infojustice.org news and analysis blog.
Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic
The Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic is the longest standing intellectual property student legal clinic in the United States, and has served as a model for dozens of others since its founding. As part of AUWCL’s highly regarded clinical program, student attorneys represent their clients directly - managing litigation, carrying out transactional work, and engaging in issue-based advocacy in collaboration with strategic partners.
AUWCL’s intellectual property curriculum is one of the largest in the country – with over 30 intellectual property and related courses. Classes are offered day and night, all year long – giving students the flexibility to tailor their schedule to other commitments.
Intellectual Property for First Year JDs
Unlike in most law schools, AUWCL JD students can take an Introduction to Intellectual Property Law and Policy in the Spring of their first year of study, opening a path to more advanced study in later in the program. Over 60 students take the Introduction to IP course each spring, roughly indicating the number of IP focused students in each class (not including LL.M. and SJD).
Summer Sessions in Washington and Geneva
Each summer, WCL students, as well as those form other schools, can earn up to 7 classroom credits in specialized intellectual property courses. Students can choose from over a dozen credits of offer in PIJIP’s three-week Intellectual Property Summer Sessions in Washington D.C. each June, as well as up to four credits in a three-week residential program on IP and Trade in Geneva, Switzerland.
Supervised Externship Program
Dozens of employers in AUWCL’s acclaimed Supervised Externship Program provide students the opportunity to receive academic credit for substantive intellectual property, communications and technology law legal work combined with a specialized seminar reflecting on their experience. For examples of employers that participate in the program, see WCL IP Externship Employers.
Location, Location, Location
AUWCL's new Tenley Campus affords students the opportunity to study in a modern state-of-the-art 8 ½ acre campus, situated in a bustling, historic neighborhood with easy metro access to downtown Washington D.C. -- a global center of intellectual property policymaking and legal practice.
Global Alumni Network and Employment Opportunities
Students gain access to one of the largest alumni networks of intellectual property practitioners in the world. AUWCL alumni are partners in nearly all of the top 50 IP firms in the DC area, IP specialist judges, including the Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and serve in IP-focused careers in scores of businesses and Federal administrative agencies. For examples of empoyers of WCL alumni in IP careers, see employers of WCL graduates.
Active Student Organizations
AUWCL law students run myriad organizations focusing on intellectual property and related topics:
- The Intellectual Property Law Society (IPLS) is the umbrella organization for all intellectual property and information law students. IPLS keeps students informed and connected through a weekly email digest of activities and employment announcements and sponsors numerous networking happy hours and events throughout the year;
- The IP Brief gives students the opportunity to edit and publish both short and full length articles on intellectual property and information law topics, including as a first year or LL.M. student;
- The Communications Law Society, Sports & Entertainment Law Society and Fashion Law Society provide opportunities for students to join specialized networks in those fields;
- The Moot Court Honor Society supports participation in the Giles Southerland Rich Memorial and Saul Lefkowitz moot court competitions;
- The American University Law Review publishes an annual volume reviewing the jurisprudence of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit;
- The International Law Review publishes an annual focus issue on international intellectual property law;
- The Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law is an annual co-sponsor of the IP-Gender Symposium.
Career and Academic Counseling
Over a dozen AUWCL faculty members participate in the Intellectual Property, Communications, Media and Sports Law Faculty Practice Group. Practice Group faculty make themselves available to students for individual career and academic counseling and work with the Office of Professional and Career Development to sponsor workshops and events explaining career paths. Each Spring the Practice Group supports a Career Coaching and Speed Networking event with area alumni.
Outstanding Graduate Degree Programs
U.S. and foreign-trained lawyers may seek to continue their study with AUWCL’s leading intellectual property program through the LL.M. or SJD degree programs.