Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology Clinic

Students in the award-winning UCI Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology (IPAT) Clinic support innovation and First Amendment rights in the digital age by advising and representing clients on copyright, protections for journalists, “sunshine” laws for government transparency, trademark, and privacy, among other areas.

Photo of building in Washington D.C.
IPAT students met with lawmakers in Washington D.C. in 2022 to help them understand the issue of protecting creative expression in court. Read more >

Students work to protect civil liberties and support innovation in the digital age, with a special focus on freedom of expression, by advising and representing clients on a range of matters dealing with copyright, privacy, First Amendment, Freedom of Information Act, public access to court records, reporter subpoenas, and other areas. Clients include artists, entrepreneurs, filmmakers, nonprofits, journalists, policymakers, and others. Through this work, Clinic students gain important legal skills while examining the role of the public interest in intellectual property and technology law.

Students have reviewed documentary films and advised those filmmakers on copyright fair-use issues, collaborated on a "Rap on Trial" attorney practice guide, written motions and appeared in court on behalf of journalists to unseal court records and defend their write to report on the news, and advised start-up businesses on trademark registration and other issues, among other projects.

Through the experience of directly counseling and representing clients (under the supervision of the professor) in various forums, students will learn professional responsibility and advocacy skills, substantive law and procedural rules related to their projects, and will closely examine the role of the public interest in intellectual property, other areas of the law related to technology, as well as the public interest in government transparency and press freedom.

Among other things, IPAT students engage in:

  • Drafting and filing amicus briefs or regulatory comments
  • Counseling and representing nonprofits, entrepreneurs, scientists, or others with IP or tech-related challenges
  • Counseling individuals and institutions in the developing world
  • Designing model licensing systems
  • Presenting at conferences or conducting trainings
  • Participating in regulatory or legislative hearings
  • Registering trademarks and interacting with USPTO

To learn more, visit the IPAT Clinic website.

Recent Work

The Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology Clinic (IPAT) has released the long-awaited Second Edition of their Rap on Trial Legal Guide. The new edition features, among other things, added content including the impact of a new California law putting guardrails on the use of creative expression in the courtroom. Since 2021, IPAT Clinic students have also presented workshops to hundreds of attorneys across the country, consulted with legislators, and enhanced the Guide’s companion Brief Bank and Case Compendium. In 2023, the Clinic advised over a dozen filmmakers and creators on complex issues of law and strategy, ranging from rightsholder negotiations to copyright issues including fair use, public domain status, and works made for hire. Clinic clients’ projects range from a documentary on Native Hawaiʻian protests against development on sacred land to an intersectional civil rights project in 1960s Mississippi. The Clinic also filed an amicus brief on behalf of independent filmmakers in a closely watched constitutional challenge to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. 

The Tech Startup Practice entered its seventh year as part of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Law Clinic Certification Program. The project has helped dozens of local small businesses, mostly women- and minority-owned and with a social benefit mission, to secure federal trademark protection for their businesses. 

In the Press Freedom Project, which provides legal services to independent journalists exposing government misconduct, the Clinic won a court order in Knock LA v. County of Los Angeles, requiring the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to disclose its secret investigation of a deputy who shot another deputy’s ankle in a reported “deputy gang” dispute. In City of Los Angeles v. Camacho, students are defending independent Los Angeles journalist Ben Camacho, who has been sued by the City of Los Angeles for publishing photographs of 9,000 Los Angeles police officers – even though the City voluntarily turned over the photos pursuant to the California Public Records Act – based on the claim that the photos include some photos of undercover officers. The City is asking for a court order banning Mr. Camacho from publishing any of the 9,000 photos in the future. Clinic students are arguing that the City’s demand violates the First Amendment.

Press Freedom Project

In Spring 2018 the Clinic founded the Press Freedom Project, making the IPAT Clinic the only clinic on the West Coast dedicated to helping print, online, and audio journalists. Headed by nationally known First Amendment and media law specialist Professor Susan Seager, our Press Freedom Project team provides free legal services to empower local, independent, and diverse journalists, bloggers, podcasters, photojournalists, media organizations, and others who are engaged in enterprise journalism and investigative reporting.

In June 2022, Professor Seager was awarded the Los Angeles Press Club’s Guardian Award for Contributions to and Protection of the First Amendment for her work leading this practice.

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