In today’s fast-growing business and technology world, intellectual property (IP) issues are becoming increasingly prevalent, creating a heightened need for IP lawyers to oversee the rules for securing and enforcing legal rights to inventions, designs and artistic works as competition grows and the industry continues to accelerate. In fact, the most recent IP Indicators Report by World Intellectual Property noted that 2022 was a record-breaking year for IP, with over 3.46M patent application submissions. This marked a 1.7% increase from total patent applications submitted in 2021, making this the third consecutive year of growth in terms of submissions.

Studying intellectual property law provides students with a comprehensive understanding of technology and the skill sets needed to draft patent applications. It also prepares them to prosecute to protect products. This knowledge has a wide range of applications seeing as many industries need attorneys who understand and appreciate the nuances during copyright infringements, whether in music, film or architecture.

For law students looking to pursue a career in intellectual property law, it is important to understand the two different tracks available for this industry:

  • Hard IP: This name is derived from the prerequisite that students have a hard science or engineering background. After earning a JD, individuals who want to focus on hard IP must sit for the patent bar exam under the terms laid out by the United States Patent and Trademark Office..
  • Soft IP: This is focused on the trademark, trade secrets and copyright aspects of the industry and does not require individuals to have a specific undergraduate degree.

western state intellectual property law careerWestern State can successfully prepare students interested in both tracks for careers in intellectual property law. Here are some of the top benefits students notice when studying IP law at Western State:

  • Adjunct Faculty That Bring Real World Experience: Western State’s esteemed faculty roster truly sets it apart and offers students the opportunity to learn from those who have legal practice experience. Individuals studying intellectual property law currently have a unique opportunity to learn from Professor David Jafari, a practicing IP lawyer with over 20 years of experience. As an adjunct faculty member at Western State, Professor Jafari currently teaches Introduction to IP Law and a patent drafting course. In his courses, students learn more than just trademark, patent and copyright law, but also how to become lawyers. Professor Jafari leverages his coursework as a vehicle to teach students the practical aspects of lawyering, which includes beneficial elements like preparing students for interviews and conducting lively discussions around real-world cases.
  • Internships and Externships: Participating in internship and externship experiences helps set students apart post-graduation. These provide excellent opportunities for students to prepare for a career in IP law while gaining practical knowledge and hands-on experience. At Western State’s Career Development Department is another great resource that helps connect students with local patent boutique firms- some of whom have even externed at Professor Jafari’s firm, Jafari Law Group.
  • Proximity to Los Angeles and San Diego: Southern California has two of the top ten cities in the U.S. for startups, in addition to Los Angeles being a top entertainment hub. With several studios, sports teams and startup companies in the area, there is a constant need for IP lawyers who can provide copyright, trademark and licensing services.

Even if you don’t plan to pursue a career in IP law, you can still benefit from taking the courses as all legal practice areas deal with copyright, trademark and licensing in some capacity– making understanding the basics of IP law beneficial to all practicing lawyers.

Interested in discovering more about how Western State prepares students for a career in intellectual property law? Check out a recent syllabus or contact our admissions department to request more information..