MSU College of Law

Intellectual Property, Information & Communications Law Graduate Programs

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Comparing degree options within the Intellectual Property program? Learn more about the different degrees we offer. We offer options for both lawyers and non-lawyers. The curriculum is the same, but degree conferred is different.

Protect Innovation.

Whether you’re a lawyer or a professional in another field, technological innovation drives your business.

Our unique Intellectual Property, Information & Communications (IPIC) law program gives foreign and domestic lawyers, as well as those from other professions – like the STEM fields, business, communications, the arts and design, and packaging, just to name a few – the chance to gain an expertise in one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative areas of the law. Our program offers options for everyone.

Our Intellectual Property, Information & Communications (IPIC) faculty are leaders in the field, and bring their scholarship and experience into the classroom. Students engage with cutting-edge research in all areas of intellectual property law. Our capstone seminar series allows students to interact with leading IP scholars and practitioners, and our lecture series brings speakers from all over the world to campus.

The University’s position as a global leader in the sciences connects our students with up-to-the-minute developments in engineering, computer science, agriculture, and communications — as well as University efforts to encourage and protect its own innovations. This collaboration provides our students with a unique interdisciplinary perspective to their legal studies and enhances the value of their degree.

We have close ties to Michigan’s intellectual property bar, one of the most active in the country, and this relationship launches outstanding careers for our graduates.

Curriculum

Students in both degree programs begin their studies by taking basic IPIC courses along with Research, Writing and Advocacy. International LL.M. and M.J. students will take Research, Writing and Advocacy with other LL.M. students, while domestic students in the M.J. program will take an IPIC-focused Research and Writing course with our J.D. students. Master of Laws students who already have an American J.D. are exempt from this course requirement.

In the first phase of their program, students also take two of our three foundational courses: Copyright Law, Patent Law, and Trademark Law/Unfair Competition Law. Those classes provide the knowledge base that they’ll need to succeed in subsequent classes.
Once students have mastered the basics, it’s time to specialize by taking IP electives. We offer hard-to-find courses in emerging areas like computational technology, informatics, and communications law, providing our students with a career advantage. Students must take a minimum of 14 credits from the list below.

  • Advanced Copyright Law
  • Advanced Patent Law
  • Agriculture Law
  • Antitrust Law
  • Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Patents
  • Biotechnology Law Seminar
  • Capstone Intellectual Property and Communications Law Seminar
  • Communications Law and Policy
  • Comparative Free Expression
  • Cyber Law
  • E-Discovery
  • Entertainment Law
  • Great Lakes First Amendment Law Clinic I
  • Great Lakes First Amendment Law Clinic II
  • Intellectual Property and Cultural Protection: Regulating Creativity in an Interconnected World
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Intellectual Property Practicum
  • Intellectual Property Survey
  • International Intellectual Property Law
  • Licensing Intellectual Property
  • Media Law
  • Patent Application Preparation
  • Patent Litigation
  • Quantitative Analysis for Lawyers
  • Research, Writing & Analysis: Intellectual Property Perspective
  • Sports Law
  • Topic in Intellectual Property and Communications Law: IPR and International Technology Transfer
  • Topics in IP: IP & Cultural Production

Students must complete the LL.M. or M.J. degree in no more than two years.
Course offerings may vary from year to year.

Our faculty

Students who come to MSU Law find knowledgeable and caring mentors on our faculty.

Our professors are successful in their own right, but teach at MSU Law because their goal is to help you become successful, too. At MSU Law, faculty members make it a point to have “open doors” to their students for questions, discussion, mentorship, and more. Students are our top priority.

FULL-TIME FACULTY

ADAM CANDEUB
IPIC Director & Professor
Communications Law & Regulation

DAVID BLANKFEIN-TABACHNICK
Asst. Professor
Intellectual Property Law

JENNIFER CARTER-JOHNSON
Co-Associate Director, IPIC Program & Assoc. Professor
Biotechnology & Patent Law

JAMES M. CHEN
Justin Smith Morrill Chair & Professor
Regulated Industries

NANCY COSTELLO
Assoc. Clinical Professor
Copyright & Media Law

SEAN PAGER
Assoc. IPIC Director & Assoc. Professor
IP in Creative Industries

ADJUNCT FACULTY

John C. Blattner, Dickinson Wright PLLC
Trademark Law & Unfair Competition Law
Prof. Blattner practices brand creation and brand protection law, including trademark counseling, clearance, registration, and maintenance both in the United States and overseas. He also has extensive experience in patent, trademark, copyright, and unfair competition litigation in state and federal courts, and represents clients in proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

Trent English, Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC
Patent Application Preparation
Prof. English’s practice includes preparing and prosecuting patent applications, conducting prior art investigations, assisting clients with patent design-around efforts, patent licensing, patent reexamination and patent litigation. He specializes in medical device technologies.

Monte Falcoff, Harness, Dickey & Pierce, PLC
Advanced Patent Law, Patent Litigation
Prof. Falcoff 's primary areas of legal practice include intellectual property portfolio management, client counseling and opinion preparation, preparation and prosecution of patent applications, trademark prosecution, intellectual property litigation, and licensing.

Kristin L. Murphy, Brooks Kushman
Patent Litigation
Prof. Murphy has extensive experience in patent opinions, intellectual property valuations/due diligence and drafting/negotiating technology and IP agreements. She has extensive experience with trademark, unfair competition, and patent litigation through trial and appeal.

Bea Swedlow, Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP
Trade Secrets
Prof. Swedlow practices intellectual property law, including patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret litigation. She has extensive experience in state and federal courts, and represents clients in proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

We have an incredibly accessible faculty. We care about our students. That’s part of the culture, it’s not an exception. I firmly believe that not every law school environment is like this. I feel very comfortable encouraging students to come here because they will have a great experience.

Review our faculty profiles »

Student Life

Students in the IPIC Program find numerous ways to connect socially while also building their professional networks. Through our eponymous student association, one of fifty student groups at MSU Law, our students participate in the Law College community.

MSU’s huge wealth of student groups in fields like engineering, packaging and other fields gives our students fabulous opportunities to meet students in related fields and build important connections important to their professional futures and build their networks beyond the Law College.

Our unique relationship with the Michigan Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Law Section also provide numerous ways to network and learn through its various educational and social activities, in which student members can take part.

Students assist in hosting the IPIC program’s speaker series and other events, finding ways to constantly build their professional circles while building job knowledge.

MSU Law is a second home to students from all over the world, and these students come together through events sponsored by the Law College’s Office of Graduate and International Programs and multiple other offices and student groups on campus. Our students have hundreds of ways to stay connected to the MSU international community, as well as the MSU Law IPIC student and faculty community.

The MSU Campus

The MSU College of Law is small, private law college on the campus of a major research university. With fewer than 1,000 students, and about 100 graduate students, MSU Law students truly have the best of both worlds: an intimate, personal law college environment within one building, and the enormous campus and college town in which the Law College makes its home.

Michigan State University is a world-class educational institution with more than 43,000 students. The university is located in East Lansing, Michigan, itself a community of 50,000 people. MSU is just miles from neighboring Lansing, the state capital, and only a short drive from Chicago, Detroit, and the scenic shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Learn more about the MSU campus.

Life in East Lansing

East Lansing is a mix of small-town charm and cosmopolitan diversity and sophistication. With nightlife, shopping, and excellent dining all within walking distance, the world is at the doorstep of MSU College of Law.

Michigan State University is home to more than 4,000 international students from more than 125 countries. Student groups representing most cultures of the world can be found on campus, and all welcome new members. A variety of religious and cultural institutions are within a short walk of MSU Law.

Students living alone and looking for a convenient location may live right across the street from the Law College in Owen Hall, a graduate student facility with one-bedroom units and an excellent cafeteria featuring foods from all over the world. Those who wish to bring their families to East Lansing or who prefer to live off-campus will find university apartments located just a short distance from MSU Law, and many other comfortable and affordable options.

Our Alumni

IPIC grads are in demand. IPIC law offers intellectually stimulating work with an impressive return on investment. Our graduates find work at leading intellectual property law firms over the world, protecting the intellectual property rights of inventors and innovators. Spartan lawyers also work as in-house counsel for some of the world’s most iconic brands.
MSU Law students benefit from networking relationships with our alumni at top firms across the country. They maintain close ties to the IPIC program when they graduate, providing job leads to our students, speaking at events, and supporting our programming.

Professional Development

Your dream job will be out there. Take charge of finding it.

Professional development is more than just resume-building and networking. It’s about learning appropriate etiquette, developing networking know-how, meeting the right people in the industry, and understanding what skills you need to get the right job or the best practical experience.

MSU College of Law students receive one-on-one career advising, mentoring and lessons in the practical, “real life” skills needed to succeed beyond the classroom. Professional development opportunities include the following:

  • Weekly graduate student lunches
  • Access to the CASE job postings database
  • Social media training
  • Resume-writing workshops
  • Personal career advising with Career Services Office staff
  • Mentoring from alumni and professors
  • Networking opportunities
  • Access to career fairs
  • Annual etiquette dinner

Learn more about MSU Law Career Services

Taking a Bar Examination

Foreign lawyers generally will not qualify to take a U.S. bar examination with an LL.M. in Intellectual Property, Information & Communications Law unless they are otherwise qualified. If you wish to pursue this degree AND take a U.S. bar examination, you need to speak to the Board of Law Examiners in the state in which you wish to practice to make sure that you will qualify without an LL.M., or with an LL.M. in this field. Plan to have this conversation before you begin classes, so that you can apply to our LL.M. in the American Legal System or Advanced Standing J.D. program if necessary.

Students obtaining their Masters of Jurisprudence in IPIC will not qualify to take a bar because they do not have a first degree in law.

Figuring out how to pay for your degree can be overwhelming. We’re here to help every step of the way.

Tuition and Living Expenses

MSU Law does not charge separate tuition rates for in-state, out-of-state and international students. This is different than other departments at MSU, as the rest of the University charges different tuition rates based on residency.

East Lansing is significantly more affordable than many urban areas, and has excellent public transportation so that a car is not needed for local travel.

Estimated expenses vary by program depending on the number of credits required, the length of time needed to complete the program, and other factors.

Funding Resources

While MSU Law offers a limited number of partial-tuition scholarships to qualifying candidates, students are expected to provide their own funding to cover their tuition, living and travel expenses.  Students are encouraged to secure funding early in the application process so that they can meet visa processing, federal financial aid and other admissions deadlines.

Law College Scholarships

The Law College awards a limited number of scholarships each year to qualified applicants. No special application is necessary. 

The Law College has limited scholarship awards because tuition recently was decreased to help students better manage their tuition costs.

Foreign Government-Sponsored Education Programs

Many foreign governments will sponsor tuition and living expenses (some partially and some completely) for their citizens to study in the United States. Often, awards are made through competitive scholarship programs. Students should inquire with their countries’ ministries of education, or connect with the EducationUSA office at the local U.S. embassy or consulate, which can assist in helping find funding sources. EducationUSA can also assist students interested in Fulbright or other U.S.-government sponsored fellowship and scholarship programs.

Private Loans for International Students

Students who do not qualify for federal aid may need to consider a private loan. Although the Office of Financial Aid does not recommend any particular lender students are encouraged to speak with John Garcia, Financial Aid Director, if they decide to pursue a private loan. Generally a non-citizen would need a stateside co-signer for the loan; the co-signer will be responsible for repaying the loan if the student does not do so. Some additional information can be found at http://www.law.msu.edu/finaid/intl_students.html

Federal Financial Aid for U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents

The cost of a quality education is not insignificant; most students need to look beyond their own resources for assistance. The Office of Financial Aid at Michigan State University College of Law is committed to making sure you have resources that will allow you to enroll and that you receive your aid in a timely and efficient manner.

A full description of the MSU Law Financial Aid Office’s resources and information can be found at http://www.law.msu.edu/finaid/aid-preparation.html. Links to the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) and the federal aid process are also found here.

Enrollment Requirements

Federal aid, and sometimes private loans, require students to be enrolled at least half-time. Usually a student must have three credits in a semester to be considered half-time. You can review enrollment information at http://www.law.msu.edu/finaid/enrollmentchart.html and contact the Office of Financial Aid with any concerns.

Tuition Reimbursement Benefits through your Employer

It is not uncommon for employers to offer financial assistance with employees’ education. Some offer tuition reimbursement, educational fellowships or scholarships. Consider asking your employer to invest in your education. Be sure to prepare well ahead of time by researching the program you wish to pursue, making a list of ways your company will benefit from your education, and address concerns your employer may have.

Student Visa Funding Requirements

To qualify for an I-20, you must prove that you have the funding to cover the cost of attendance for EVERY YEAR of your program of study.   To fulfill this funding requirement, you must prove that you have the funding immediately available to pay for your first year of study AND the ability to fund additional years in the program, as necessary to graduate.  This can be proven through sponsor proof of current or projected income or through a work or government funding guarantee.  If you are self-funded, you will have to prove that you have the entire Projected Program Total immediately available because it is assumed that you will have no income while you are attending MSU College of Law.

Students in the J.D. program must take at least 13 credits per semester to be in status for SEVIS purposes, while graduate (LL.M. and M.J.) students must take at least 9.

Learn more about the visa process »