Course Descriptions

Spring 2018 Class Descriptions

Patent Prosecution (Mark Abumeri, Derek C. Dailey)
LWIP571

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)
LWTE548

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 February. 

Pre-Trial Practice (Shaun P. Martin)
LWLP567

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Civil Litigation (JD)

This course discusses the procedural rules that control the pretrial stage of a civil lawsuit, as well as the strategic and tactic utilization of those rules. The course is practice-oriented and particularly focuses on the discovery process, but also discusses pleadings as well as a wide variety of law and motion procedures. The course focuses on practice and procedure in both federal courts in California as well as in California state court.

Privacy Law (Alan Blankenheimer)
LWGC581

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Requirement(s): Writing
Concentration(s): Intellectual Property Law (LLMG), Intellectual Property (LLMC), Intellectual Property (JD), Intellectual Property Law (MSLS)

Privacy and data security issues are becoming increasingly important to businesses, individuals and governments in light of new information technologies and new threats to their, and our national, security. From the Equifax and Sony hacks to the NSA to iPhone encryption, information privacy law is now essential knowledge in boardrooms and courtrooms. This course will provide an introduction to the constitutional and common law origins of the law of privacy and to the statutory framework in California and at the federal level for protecting private information. 

Products Liability (Edmund Ursin)
LWLP568

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded

This course will cover the law governing liability for injuries caused by defective products, including negligence, warranty and strict tort liability doctrines. The doctrine of strict tort liability for defective products has been an especially dynamic area, and the course will cover the historical and theoretical origins of this doctrine. Defenses, causation, and other related doctrines will also be examined. The grade in this course will be based on a final exam with class participation also considered.

Professional Responsibility (Robert F. Muth)
LWAA580

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)
LWAA530

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 Clinic (Robert C. Fellmeth)
LWVL544

1-3 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Experiential
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

Public International Law (Fred Heller)
LWIC575

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): International Law (MSLS), LLM in International Law (LLMI), International Law (LLMC), Public Interest Law (JD), International Law (JD)

Instant communications, easier travel and expanding international trade mean the actions, interests and welfare of nations and their citizens have become increasingly intertwined, each impacting the others. To regulate this impact, nations have established a multi-level system of law, and some have established multinational organizations which in turn have their own legal systems. This class will survey key components of the resulting aggregation of law (known generally as public international law). It will examine laws governing treaties and other international agreements, the nature and content of customary international law, the recognition of states and governments, the role and operation of international and regional organizations, state responsibilities, laws protecting foreign investments, international dispute resolution mechanisms, the law of the sea and the law of space, and selected other topics. The class will also examine selected controversies of the day to assess how public international law works in difficult situations (for example, in North Korea, Syria, Myanmar, Crimea, Kurdistan and many other places).


Note: This is a required course for the International Law Concentration (JD).

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