Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology Clinic

Law students in the Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology Clinic work to support innovation and creative expression in the digital age. In the Clinic, students advise and represent clients on a range of matters dealing with copyright, patent, privacy and media law, among other areas. Through this work, they gain important legal skills while examining the role of the public interest in intellectual property and technology law.

To learn more, visit the IPAT Clinic website.

Much of the Clinic’s work includes counseling for small inventors, micro-entrepreneurs, artists, filmmakers, policymakers and non-profit organizations who otherwise would not have access to top-flight legal services in this area. Clinic students advocate for clients via amicus briefs, comments and other forms of participation in regulatory proceedings, reports, trainings and presentations, and occasionally litigation.

The Clinic is an immersive program in which the students manage their own cases, are the primary contact with the client, plan and run their own calls and meetings, and draft all briefs, memoranda and correspondence. A companion seminar focuses on the relevant substantive law and its theoretical foundation, as well as collaboration across projects and student teams (see course description). Through this experience, students develop an array of skills that are important to lawyers working with technology, including: license negotiation and contract drafting; writing; client counseling and interviewing; legal and policy research; case management, strategy and planning; correspondence; oral advocacy; ethics and practice management; and organizing and coalition-building. Students also develop a more nuanced and informed understanding of the practice of law, their own professional development, and the many ways that intellectual property and technology law affect the public interest.

The Clinic’s work focuses on developing solutions to the complex problems that arise when digital technology meets innovation and creative expression. Students learn that while many areas of the law regulate these activities, so do technologies such as software code, chipsets, wireless and broadband—as well as large private platforms like search engines and social networks. As a result, innovators and artists face complicated and dynamic challenges that extend far beyond legal doctrine.

Solving Legal Problems in the Tech Context

Typical clinical projects include:

  • Advising entrepreneurs and non-profits on questions of patent, copyright, privacy and media law
  • Counseling policymakers and others in the developing world on complex international IP questions
  • Filing amicus briefs in state and federal courts of appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Helping low-budget and marginalized documentary filmmakers make fair use of copyrighted materials appropriately and responsibly. Press Release: UCI Law clinic files petitions to help filmmakers, e-book authors secure fair use rights
  • Advocating in administrative rulemakings and other regulatory proceedings via comments, testimony and other forms of participation
  • Working with a nationwide coalition of documentary and independent filmmakers on regulatory proceedings involving network neutrality in the Federal Communications Commission and the doctrine of fair use in the Library of Congress

“Today’s technology allows new ways of storytelling that are simply not possible without the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemption. Any writer can now embed a video clip of a particular movie in his or her piece in order to analyze or comment on it. It has been a privilege to work with Authors Alliance to help them explain to the Copyright Office why the law must be recalibrated so that today’s technology can be used to its fullest capability.”

Matthew Germer ’15, Clinical Student

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