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Vanderbilt Intellectual Property Program

Intellectual property has become one of the most vibrant and challenging areas of today's legal profession.

Emerging technologies transform and expand the role that communications networks and content play in our lives. Innovation is increasingly seen as a key lever to grow the U.S. economy. As information has become increasingly global, attorneys must be familiar with an increasingly broad array of legal regimes. Clients need lawyers who are well prepared to help them navigate this rapidly changing environment.

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The Vanderbilt Intellectual Property Program (VIPP) is designed to prepare Vanderbilt law graduates to meet this challenge. The program affords students the opportunity to study with world-class scholars and practitioners, international intellectual property expert Daniel Gervais; patent law expert Sean Seymore, who address legal issues relating to technology, entertainment, and innovation law in their teaching, research and practice; Joseph Fishman, who focuses on the relationship of intellectual property to creativity and the creative process; and Michael Bressman, who teaches the Intellectual Property and the Arts clinic. The program's adjunct faculty includes Judge Kent A. Jordan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Suzanne Kessler, of counsel with Bone McAllester Norton where she provides entertainment and intellectual property law counseling to individuals and entities in the entertainment industries; R. Gregory Parker, a member at Bass Berry & Sims counsels global innovators whose businesses focus on a diverse range of technologies in the procurement and enforcement of intellectual property rights; and Richard Sanders, founding and managing partner of Aaron & Sanders, a Nashville-based firm that focuses on intellectual property, internet law, privacy and litigation.

Bronze statue of piano-playing Owen Bradley

Nashville is also home to numerous record labels, television networks, instrument manufacturers, and three leading performance rights licensing organizations, BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. The VIPP coordinates with noted practitioners to provide fellowships and externship opportunities to students interested in studying technology, intellectual property, entertainment, and innovation law.

Interdisciplinary University Programs

Vanderbilt's Law & Business Program

An innovative interdisciplinary curriculum at the intersection of law and business jointly sponsored by the law school and the Owen Graduate School of Management, this program gives aspiring corporate lawyers the tools they need to work with e-commerce entrepreneurs and explain Internet law.

eLab

The programs at Owen School of Graduate Management have consistently been ranked in the top 10% of accredited business schools by Bloomberg, Businessweek, U.S. News & World Report, Financial Times, The Economist and Forbes. Owen is home to eLab, the nation's first academic research center dedicated to the study of the Internet. The New York Times calls eLab “one of the premiere research centers in the world for the study of electronic commerce,” and the Wall Street Journal recognizes the effort as the “electronic commerce pioneer among business schools.”

Curb Center on Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy

The Curb Center is dedicated to exploring how the unintended consequences of decisions by business enterprises and governmental actors affect cultural policy.

First Amendment Center , at Vanderbilt University

The First Amendment Center works to preserve and protect First Amendment freedoms through information and education. The Center has recently sponsored research on free speech and music, violence and the media, informational privacy and freedom of information in the digital age. The Center also sponsors the National First Amendment Moot Court Competition held at Vanderbilt Law School each year.

Related Student Organizations

Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

JETL is a student-edited, scholarly publication focusing on contemporary legal issues facing the entertainment industry. JETL publishes articles and notes on film/television, music, sports and the Internet, and sponsors biannual academic symposia. The topic for this year's conference is “On the Horizon: The Effect of Emerging Digital Technology on Entertainment Content Development.” Previous conferences have focused on the “Fair Use Doctrine in Copyright Law” and the “Economics of Baseball."

Vanderbilt Intellectual Property Association

VIPA provides a forum for students interested in learning about or working in the dynamic field of intellectual property law. The field includes but is not limited to patent, copyright, and trademark. The organization seeks to create educational events for students, foster debate on current issues, develop employment networks with alumni and local practitioners, and take advantage of practical opportunities available right here in Nashville.

Entertainment and Sports Law Society

ESLS frequently invites outside speakers to discuss issues related to intellectual property and/or entertainment law. Their mission is to educate Vanderbilt law students about the current events and problems facing the sports and entertainment industries today and to facilitate lasting connections between Vanderbilt law students and professionals in those fields.