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Technology & Entrepreneurship Law - Courses and Other Opportunities


Traditionally intellectual property programs focus on doctrine and policy. Our course offerings reflect a different approach. We focus on what matters to lawyers in practice: knowledge of the substantive and procedural law coupled with the skills and judgment required to apply the law to solve clients' problems effectively and efficiently. Toward that end, we offer students an introductory doctrinal course, which is then followed by skills-based simulation courses taught by senior attorneys with extensive experience in patent infringement litigation or intellectual property transactional practice. For students interested in transactional practice, we encourage students to take advantage of the rich course offerings in our business law program. To complete the educational experience, we offer students opportunities during the school year to put those skills to use in practical settings involving courtroom and client experience as well as opportunities to interface with members of the local patent bar.



This course covers all fundamental substantive areas of antitrust, including horizontal restraints, vertical restraints and mergers, as well as practical issues relating to litigation strategy and planning advice. The course applies substantive doctrine to analyze cutting-edge antitrust issues in technology markets, including the government litigation against Microsoft, the "Apple e-books" litigation, the investigation of Google, and patent licensing entities in electronics markets. The course is taught by the director of the Media, Entertainment & Technology Law Program.

Business Planning: Structuring and Financing the New Enterprise

This course will examine the legal and business concepts, principles and practices, financial and operational structures, economic models, distribution platforms and other issues encountered in connection with the formation, structuring and financing a new media enterprise. The instructor is a veteran entertainment attorney, studio chief executive, investment banker, and media consultant with 44 years of practical experience in the entertainment and media industry. Using the motion picture business as the proxy for any media content producer, this is a "hands on" course that will work with a running hypothetical based on actual businesses (and involving a series of real transactions) engaged in the development, production, financing and distribution of entertainment content. Accordingly, the course will progressively cover each phase of the structuring, formation, financing and operation of Newco as a startup independent motion picture production company.

Communications Law: Internet, Television and Other Media

This course surveys US law regulating the telephone, cable, broadcasting and broadband industries. Current topics include net neutrality, universal service reform, broadcaster/cable-DBS retransmission consent disputes, vertical and horizontal concentration by distributors and content owners, and the digital divide. Role-playing by students of industry advocates and government officials are used to illustrate the sources and consequences of disputes and rulemakings. This course is taught by a state court judge and former partner at a major national law firm, specializing in regulatory matters.

Counseling the Startup

This course follows a hypothetical startup venture through various stages of growth and development. The course centers around the role of the attorney in these stages, and focuses on examining, understanding and developing key provisions in the agreements that commonly are associated with these stages such as a business plan, venture capital investment, employment agreements, lease, stock option plan, financing documents and distribution and strategic partnership arrangements.

Deal Strategy, Structure and Negotiation

Using the motion picture business as a proxy for any media content producer, financier and/or distributor, this "skills" course will examine the legal and business skills, concepts and practices, involved in structuring, drafting and negotiating various types of employment contracts, rights acquisitions, financing, production and distribution deals in the entertainment and media industry. To do so, students will work with a running hypothetical that progressively covers certain operational aspects of a major studio/distributor and an independent production company in connection with their development, production, distribution and exploitation of motion pictures for worldwide distribution, and their related dealings with third parties. Students will examine the financial, economic, and practical aspects of each transaction, and will also engage in "mock negotiations" of some of the more important deals examined in class.

Intellectual Property Licensing

Licensing is a core issue in any intellectual property practice area. The instructor is a seasoned practitioner who helps students analyze the key clauses and royalty mechanics of licensing agreements. This course provides an expansive overview of licensing issues that are specific to physical and online intellectual property markets, including the motion picture, television, recording and software industries.

Internet Law

This course examines how the law has adapted to the technology of the Internet, and vice versa, and the broader implications of those adaptations. The objectives of this course are to give students a basic working knowledge of the most common Internet-related issues that they may encounter when they begin their careers as practicing lawyers, and to provide tools to analyze variants of those issues as they arise. The course is taught by a partner at major national law firm, specializing in intellectual property matters.

Patent Infringement Litigation Workshop

This course simulates a patent infringement litigation from start to finish. Students are exposed to documents from actual infringement litigations, including motion papers, briefs, exhibits, discovery materials and other documents. The workshop is interactive and designed to simulate the experience of a junior associate in the litigation group of a national law firm. The instructor is a partner at one of the country's leading national law firms, with an extensive practice in patent infringement litigation.

Patent Law

This course comprehensively covers all aspects of patent law. The instructor is a former partner at one of the country's leading intellectual property litigation firms and is currently of counsel at a patent litigation firm.

Patent Prosecution

In this course, students learn how to prepare and prosecute utility patent applications, with additional coverage of issues relating to design patent and foreign patent prosecution. Oral and written drafting and simulation exercises cover the full gamut of the patent prosecution process, including drafting patent claims, preparing a patent application, responding to a patent office rejection, and preparing for and participating in a mock patent examiner interview.

Technology Transactions Workshop

This course exposes students to the "nuts and bolts" of negotiating licensing and other technology transfer transactions, whether involving patents, trade secrets, know-how or other forms of intellectual property. Students are exposed to the types of documents encountered in transactional intellectual property practice, including term sheets, licensing and other contractual agreements, patents and other materials. The workshop is interactive and designed to simulate the experience of a junior corporate associate in the technology group of a major law firm. The instructor is a former partner in the Silicon Valley business practice of a leading law firm, acted as general counsel for several technology companies, and has headed technology licensing teams at major research universities.

Venture Capital Law and Finance

This course provides in depth knowledge of the legal and financial aspects of the venture capital industry together with important practice skills needed to represent entrepreneurs and venture capital investors. We cover two core topics. First, we study the formation and structure of the venture capital fund, with the legal and business differences between general and limited partners. Second, we analyze the "financing" of an emerging growth technology company through the following events, analyzing both the finance and legal aspects where applicable: (i) the negotiation and funding of capital from venture capital investors; (ii) issues related to multiple rounds of financing; (iii) valuation of the emerging growth company and (iv) liquidation events such as merger, acquisition or initial public offering. Concepts are taught through a combination of lecture and role-play negotiation exercises.


Intellectual Property and Technology Clinic

The clinic offers selected students the opportunity to work with real-world clients on intellectual property and technology-related matters. For further details, please follow the link: http://iptlc.usc.edu/

General Counsel Practicum

Students have the opportunity to earn academic credit by interning for a semester or summer in the legal departments of technology-related companies.

Federal Patent Pilot Program

The federal Patent Pilot Program provides additional support and resources to district court judges who specialize in patent litigation. As part of the pilot program, each year a select number of USC law students have had the opportunity to work as judicial clerks during the school year at the Central District of California. The Central District is one of the country's most active venues for patent litigation and the program provides students with the opportunity to acquire invaluable courtroom experience.

USC Stevens Institute for Innovation

A selected number of USC law students have had the opportunity to intern during the school year at the technology transfer office of the University of Southern California. Students have the opportunity to assist in invention disclosure, patent prosecution, technology licensing and other related matters.

The Judge Paul R. Michel Intellectual Property American Inn of Court

This organization provides an opportunity for local federal judges and patent litigators to meet periodically to conduct simulated judicial proceedings and review cutting-edge issues in patent litigation. A selected number of USC law students have had the opportunity to participate in this unique opportunity to interact with prominent members of the local patent bar.

USC Intellectual Property Institute

Each spring, the USC Gould School of Law hosts the Intellectual Property Institute, one of the country's leading conferences for patent law practitioners. Federal judges and prominent patent law practitioners regularly speak at the conference. Complementary admission is provided to USC law students. For further details, please follow the link: http://lawweb.usc.edu/why/academics/cle/ip/

USC Gould Institutes

USC Intellectual Property Institute

USC Entertainment Law and Business Institute

Entertainment Law News

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