Vanderbilt selected for U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Clinical Pilot Program

Vanderbilt Law School is one of six law schools chosen by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to participate in a new pilot program that will allow law students to practice intellectual property law directly before the USPTO under the supervision of law school clinical faculty. The pilot program will begin during the fall 2008 semester and continue for two years.

Through the pilot program, students in Vanderbilt’s Intellectual Property & the Arts Clinic (IP Clinic) will have the opportunity to draft and file a trademark application, respond to an office action, or draft and file a brief or reply brief in an appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board from final refusals. Students will be supervised by Michael Bressman, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Law, who founded and teaches the IP Clinic.

To be selected, law schools had to offer a strong intellectual property curriculum and clinic, according to Professor Bressman. “We are honored to have been selected from a large number of schools to participate in this innovative program,” said Professor Bressman. “Vanderbilt students will have unparalleled opportunities to gain real-world experience in intellectual property law and to learn the challenges of practicing in this constantly changing field of law.”

“We are pleased to offer this pilot program because we believe it will help participating law students gain perspective on the USPTO’s role in the global IP system,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas in announcing the selection of the schools. “We hope the experience will inspire these students to pursue careers in IP law—perhaps even here at the USPTO.”

Vanderbilt’s IP Clinic, which began in January 2007, handles a range of legal issues for clients in a variety of intellectual property fields, including trademarks, copyrights, internet and technology issues, and more. It also represents entertainers, artists, and arts organizations in legal matters specific to their industries.

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