Course Descriptions

Spring 2017 Class Descriptions

Partnership Tax (Howard Abrams)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Taxation (MSLS), LLM in Taxation (LLMT), Taxation (LLMC)
Prerequisite(s): Tax I

This course considers the federal tax consequences of entity classification of partnership and limited liability companies; formation of a partnership; basis of partnership interests and assets; effect of liabilities on basis; allocation of income and deductions; partnership elections; continuation, merger, and termination of partnerships; family partnerships; sales and exchanges of partnership interests; liquidating and non-liquidating distributions; retiring partners; and pertinent policy considerations.


Patent Litigation II (Alan Blankenheimer)

2 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): Intellectual Property Law (MSLS), Intellectual Property Law (LLMG), Intellectual Property (LLMC), Intellectual Property (JD)

This course will examine what all the work in a patent case really should be about from the first day: the trial. You’ve produced and read terabytes of documents, answered oppressive interrogatories and taken depositions of your opponents’ evasive witnesses. The judge has ruled on claim construction and denied cross-motions for summary judgment. Now you get to put the case together for trial. The course will be structured around hypotheticals, which will generate writing and oral advocacy assignments for members of the class. The class will be fundamentally interactive, although we may lecture occasionally. Oral advocacy will include an opening statement; direct examination of an expert technical witness, including preparation of demonstrative exhibits; cross examination of an expert technical witness; and preparation and argument of motions in limine. Grading will be honors/pass/low pass/fail based on in-class written and oral assignments. There will be no final exam. Prerequisites are at least one of the following: Patent Law, Intellectual Property Survey, Patent Litigation I, or registered patent agent. Recommended prerequisites are Patent Litigation I.

Patent Prosecution (Mark Abumeri, Derek C. Dailey)

2 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Intellectual Property Law (MSLS), Intellectual Property Law (LLMG), Intellectual Property (LLMC), Intellectual Property (JD)
Prerequisite(s): Intellectual Property Survey or Patent Law

This course provides an overview of practical aspects of U.S. patent practice, with a particular focus on issues that will be faced by a patent attorney in the early years of his/her career. Topics covered include preparation and prosecution of patent applications before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, discussing strategic and practical considerations in addition to the applicable law, regulations and procedures. The course will also cover development and execution of an IP strategy for a client, evaluation of the scope of issued patents, and issues relating to ownership, assignment, and licensing of patent rights. In addition, ethical issues related to inequitable conduct, duty of candor, and proper representation of clients are addressed. Students will complete a series of real-world assignments, including the drafting of claims and other patent application content, responses to Office actions, and provisions directed to the transfer of patent rights.

Prerequisite: Intellectual Property Survey, or Patent Law. No technical background is required. Grade will be based on a series of practical projects over the course of the semester.

Payroll Taxes (Willard B. Taylor)

1 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Taxation (MSLS), LLM in Taxation (LLMT), Taxation (LLMC)
Prerequisite(s): Tax I

The purpose of this course is to understand the structure of payroll taxes and the new 3.8% tax on net investment income and also to consider the broader issues which these taxes raise. We will not get into the fine print (e.g., should you be withholding FICA on what you pay your babysitter?), but will discuss, for example, the effect of the rules on choice of entity or a structure used to carry on a business (such as the choice between a partnership and an S corporation or between a limited liability company and a limited partnership), the alignment of the taxes with the personal income tax and other connections between “social insurance” programs and the personal income tax. Broader issues include, for example, whether it makes a difference whether these are taxes are viewed as taxes on income or simply as payments made for specific retirement and/or medical benefits (and, depending on how that is answered, whether it might make sense to fund more of the benefits out of general revenues, not payroll taxes and the tax on NII). This class will have a final exam in early February. 

Professional Responsibility (Robert F. Muth)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded

The roles of the lawyer in society and the obligations implied in those roles are examined. Topics include disciplinary standards and procedures, the history and organization of the legal profession; avoiding conflict of interest; obligations to clients, the courts, and society, and conflicts presented by the adversary system for settlements of disputes; and responsibilities of lawyers as public servants and citizens. American Bar standards will be reviewed.

Property (Staff)

4 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded

Consideration is given, in both a historical and modern sense, to the rights and obligations that arise out of the legal ownership of possessory and non-possessory interests, tangible, and to a limited extent, intangible, personal, and real property. Areas covered include estates in land, landlord-tenant, conveyancing, land development, public and private control of land use, non-possessory rights in land, bailments, lost and misplaced property, gifts, and an introduction to gratuitous transfers of realty.

Public Interest Law & Practice (Robert C. Fellmeth)

2-3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): Environmental and Energy Law (LLMG), Environmental and Energy Law (LLMC), Public Interest Law (JD), Health Law (JD), Environmental and Energy Law (JD), Children's Rights (JD)

2 or 3 credits - Year-long course Students study the substantive laws governing the functioning and decision making of state administrative agencies. These laws include the sunshine statutes which require most agency decision making to take place in public and guarantee public access to most agency records (the open meetings acts and the California Public Records Act) and the state Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the process agencies must follow to adopt regulations or take disciplinary action against the license of a licensee. Students also study important limitations on the power of agencies (including constitutional and antitrust limitations), and the functioning of the state legislature, which may enact, repeal, or amend the enabling acts of most agencies. As part of their coursework, students are assigned to monitor two California agencies; they travel all over the state to attend agency meetings, monitor and analyze their activities, interview agency officials and licensees, and track rulemaking, legislation, and litigation affecting their agencies. Twice during the year, students submit written reports on the activities of their assigned agencies. These reports are edited by CPIL professional staff and published, with attribution to the student author, in the Center's California Regulatory Law Reporter, the only legal journal of its kind in the nation; the Reporter is reprinted in full on Westlaw. Students wishing to take Public Interest Law and Practice should pre-register for the course. Public Interest and Practice is subject to a special application procedure or visit the CPIL’s offices (rear door of the LRC) for further information.

Note: This is a required course for the Public Interest Law Concentration (JD). This course only counts towards the Environmental and Energy Law Concentration (JD) if your course focus is on environmental or energy law. This course only counts towards the Health Law Concentration if your course focus is on health law.
Additional Information:Public Interest Law Concentration, Environmental and Energy Law Concentration

Public Interest Law Clinic (Robert C. Fellmeth)

1-3 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): Environmental and Energy Law (LLMG), Environmental and Energy Law (LLMC), Public Interest Law (JD), Health Law (JD), Environmental and Energy Law (JD)

Students who enjoy Public Interest Law and Practice frequently go on to take Public Interest Law Clinic, in which they may design their own writing or advocacy project related to regulatory or public interest law. In the past, these projects have included written critiques of agencies or agency programs; petitioning an agency to adopt regulations; drafting model legislation; participating in litigation to enforce the state's sunshine statutes; or submitting amicus curiae briefs on public interest issues pending appeal. Student critiques of publishable quality may satisfy USD's written work requirement. Students interested in Public Interest Law Clinic must secure a permission slip prior to pre-registration from Professor Julie D'Angelo Fellmeth at CPIL's offices. The clinic is graded on a 4-tier Pass-Fail basis.

Note: There are limitations on JD concentration eligibility. Please check the Environmental and Energy Law Concentration and Health Law Concentration web pages for more information.
Additional Information:Environmental and Energy Law Concentration, Health Law Concentration

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