Course Descriptions

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Spring 2021 Class Descriptions

Patent Prosecution (LWIP571)

Instructor(s): Mark Abumeri

2 credit(s), Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Intellectual Property (JD), Intellectual Property (LLMC), Intellectual Property Law (LLMG), Intellectual Property Law (MSLS)
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.

Note: Students must have taken Patent Law or Intellectual Property Survey, or have work experience in the field and permission of the professor, to register for the course.

Payroll Taxes (LWTE548)

Instructor(s): Staff

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

The purpose of this course is to understand the structure of Federal 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 the choice an 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 Government and private social insurance and healthcare programs and the personal income tax.  (There is also the effect on payroll taxes of H.R. 6201, The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and other responses to the pandemic.)  Broader payroll tax issues include, for example, whether it makes a difference whether these 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 Social Security and Medicare benefits out of general revenues, not payroll taxes, and to eliminate the tax on NII).

Apart from assigned materials, additional readings are set out at the end of this syllabus.  These are not required but are for those who want to go beyond the assigned readings. This class meets for seven weeks followed by a final exam.


Privacy Law (LWGC581)

Instructor(s): Staff

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

Additional Information: Intellectual Property Concentration (JD)

Professional Responsibility (LWAA580)

Instructor(s): Robert Muth

3 credit(s), 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 (LWAA530)

Instructor(s): Abraham Bell, Adam Hirsch, Mary Jo Wiggins

4 credit(s), 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 (LWPP570)

Instructor(s): Robert Fellmeth, Bridget Gramme, Debra Jorgensen

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

Public Interest Law & Practice (PILP) is a yearlong graded course in which students learn the substantive law governing the operation and decisionmaking of California regulatory agencies. Students may take the course for four or five units. Public interest lawyers represent interests that are diffuse, unorganized, and generally underrepresented - such as consumers, the environment, children, and the future - in governmental decisionmaking that affects them. PILP focuses on specific laws that enable public interest lawyers to effectively advocate for their clients. Specifically, PILP students study the sunshine statutes which require most agency decisionmaking 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 a major California agency; they travel all over the state to attend agency meetings; monitor and analyze agency activities, interview agency officials and licensees; and track rulemaking, legislation, and litigation affecting their agency. Twice during the year, students submit a written report covering the activities of their assigned agency, including recent legislation and court decisions affecting the agency and its licensees, which may be published. Students will also give public comment before their assigned agency during the spring semester, and participate in various simulated advocacy exercises in class throughout the academic year.

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 (JD) if your course focus is on health law.
Additional Information: Public Interest Concentration, Environmental and Energy Law Concentration

Public Interest Law Clinic (LWVL544)

Instructor(s): Robert Fellmeth, Jessica Heldman

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

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