Patent Law Program

In the 21st Century, innovation-based societies will thrive. Important to the success of such a society is a patent system that rewards true innovation, and key to the success of such a patent system is an abundance of well-qualified patent attorneys. For anyone entering law school with a scientific or technical background or an interest in technology, the study of patent law can be both intellectually and financially rewarding.


The Institute for Information Law & Policy now offers a new Patent Law Program (PLP) that aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop greater expertise and experience in the area of patent law. Students who participate in the PLP will gain the benefit of curriculum guidance, career advice, and learning opportunities, all of which will assist students in building a more robust résumé in preparation for their entry into the legal marketplace. In addition, the IILP works with PLP students to obtain both externship and internship opportunities during their law school careers to provide a head start when admitted to practice.

Certificate in Patent Law

Students completing the PLP course of study are recognized at graduation with a Certificate in Patent Law. This certificate is intended to demonstrate that the student has completed an advanced course of study in patent law, indicating the student to be unusually well-qualified in this domain. Students who have completed the entry-requirements into the PLP will also become associates of the IILP.


The first step towards the Certificate in Patent Law is the completion of our sign-up form (link located to the right), which must be submitted to Naomi Allen, Institute for Information Law & Policy, 40 Worth St., Suite 706. The IILP will then provide additional information upon receipt and review of a student’s form.

Below are 2 categories of requirements that students must undertake in order to qualify for the PLP’s Certificate in Patent Law. A student’s eligibility to sit for the USPTO-administered patent bar exam dictates which category that student falls under. Patent Prosecutors (i.e., patent attorneys who write and file patent applications) are required to pass the patent bar exam, while patent litigators are not. Generally, students who have a science or technology undergraduate are eligible for the patent bar exam, as well as those students who have fulfilled the appropriate coursework requirements after graduation. Details on the requirements are available here.

Students seeking to be admitted to practice before the USPTO will be required to take:

  • Introduction to Intellectual Property
  • Patent Law
  • One of the following:
    • Patent Litigation
    • Patent Claim Drafting
    • IP Licensing and Drafting: Patent or Technology
  • Patent Bar Study Group (non-for-credit exam study session which meets regularly throughout the academic year to assist eligible students in preparing to take the patent bar exam)

*Students who have already taken the patent bar exam are eligible for the Patent Law Certificate, provided they fulfill the above requirements and complete a sign-up form.

Students interested in a patent-related career that does not include USPTO practice, such as patent litigation or licensing, will be required to take:

  • Introduction to Intellectual Property
  • Patent Law
  • One of the following:
    • Patent Litigation
    • Patent Claim Drafting
    • Patent Licensing and Drafting or Biotech Licensing and Drafting

Advisory Board

The PLP is designed to encourage and support students wishing to pursue a concentration in patent law. The Alumni Advisory Board is comprised of former NYLS students who have gone on to become highly regarded experts in the field of patent law and who have volunteered to make themselves available as a resource to students interested in pursuing similar expertise.

Learning Opportunities

Center for Patent Innovations

The Center for Patent Innovations, a part of the IILP, designs and develops projects harnessing Web-based collaborative tools for the sole purpose of improving patent systems, both in the United States and around the world. The Center is also working to adapt these same technologies to fit other government-citizen collaboration efforts. More information can be found here. Some of the Center’s ongoing projects include:

  • Peer to Patent
    The concept behind Peer to Patent is to improve the patent examination process by harnessing a collaborative network of citizen experts to help identify and evaluate relevant prior art for consideration by patent examiners. Utilizing this system, the burden is no longer on the patent examiner or the inventor alone to identify whether a patent application is novel and non-obvious. Instead, communities of interest come together to vet the patents that affect their industry and inform the examiner’s decision making. More information can be found here.
  • Open Patent
    The Center believes patent database information would be of greater utility and far more robust if patents could be “tagged” with other relevant information. At the same time, we believe visualization technology could be usefully applied to such an expanded database to permit researchers to see relationships that exist among groups of patents. Such visual relationships might identify patent “thickets;” they may identify all of the patents embodied in a software product (where patent marking is not required); and they may improve the ability of patent examiners to identify relevant prior art. The Center has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to test this hypothesis. More information can be found here.
  • Post-Issue Peer to Patent
    Building off the community built around Peer to Patent, the Center provides means for identifying prior art that may lead into question the validity of issued patents. By providing the platform and mechanism for gathering post-issue prior art, communities of peer reviewers examine the patents, the breath of their claims, and their relation to pre-existing technology in an effort to identify prior art that is relevant and should have been considered at the time of examination. By making this information publicly accessible, patent owners and those concerned about possible patent infringement can better assess the strength of the patent in question. More information can be found here.