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University of California at Berkeley, Fall 2014
INFO 237
Intellectual Property Law for the Information Industries
Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. (3 units)
202 South Hall

Instructor: Brian W. Carver (bcarver at ischool dot berkeley dot edu)
207C South Hall
Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 9:30-10:30 by appointment (Sign up on wejoinin)

Course Websites:

Grade and Attendance:
  • 24-hour take-home midterm (20%)
  • 24-hour take-home final exam (25%)
  • Wikipedia Project (40% total)
    • Initial Article(s) (15%)
    • First Peer Review (10%)
    • Second Peer Review (15%)
  • Class participation (15%)
The midterm and final exam will each be designed to be completed in three hours, but you will be permitted 24-hours in which to take each. The midterm and final exam will both be open book and open notes. In fact, you may use any available resource in writing the midterm and exam except for another person.

Class participation will consist of being on-call for class discussion and making substantive contributions to the class discussions.

Each student will also, alone or in a small group, identify a topic/case/statute/etc. related to those covered during the semester and will edit or create its respective Wikipedia entry so as to improve Wikipedia's coverage of Intellectual Property law topics. Topic proposals and, for group projects, an explanation of each group member's responsibilities will be submitted and approved in advance. See schedule below for exact due dates. Each student will also sign up to review and edit the Wikipedia pages edited by two fellow students.

Attendance is expected. If you need to miss all or a portion of a class, I will assume you have a good reason, so you need not detail it for me. If you like, you can simply send me an email letting me know you need to miss, but it is not necessary.

Textbook: Lemley, Menell, Merges, Samuelson, & Carver, Software and Internet Law ("SAIL") (4th ed. 2011); additional readings available online. (This textbook is typically used for INFO 235 Cyberlaw, to be offered Spring 2015.)

Prerequisites: None; Students from all levels (graduate/undergraduate) and schools on campus are welcome. However, this is a graduate-level course, so interested undergraduates are encouraged to meet with me before enrolling (or before the drop deadline). Undergraduates may be placed on the waitlist by Telebears and if you attend on the first day of class and let me know you wish to enroll, then, space permitting, students will be admitted from the waitlist in order until the class is full. In the past, no one has been turned away.

Course Description (from the Course Catalog): This course will provide an overview of the intellectual property laws with which information managers need to be familiar. It will start with a consideration of trade secrecy law that information technology and other firms routinely use to protect commercially valuable information. It will then consider the role that copyright law plays in the legal protection of information products and services. Although patents for many years rarely were available to protect information innovations, patents on such innovations are becoming increasingly common. As a consequence, it is necessary to consider standards of patentability and the scope of protection that patent affords to innovators. Trademark law allows firms to protect words or symbols used to identify their goods or services and to distinguish them from the goods and services of other producers. It offers significant protection to producers of information products and services. Because so many firms license intellectual property rights, some coverage of licensing issues is also important. Much of the course will concern the legal protection of computer software and databases, but it will also explore some intellectual property issues arising in cyberspace.

Course Goals: We will survey trade secret, copyright, trademark, and patent law. Students will, for the most part, be introduced to these topics through reading of judicial opinions, in-class lectures, and discussions. Students will illustrate their understanding of the material through discussions, writing assignments, the midterm, and the final exam.

Add/Drop Policy: The university determines the last day to drop without a "W". Check with the Registrar.

Academic Honesty: U.C. Berkeley's Code of Student Conduct prohibits all forms of academic misconduct including but not limited to cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, or facilitating academic dishonesty. See Policy 102.01 at and It is my policy to pursue the discipline of such misconduct, including, but not limited to, the entering of a grade of F in the course and a notation (or equivalent) on the student's transcript of the reason for same.

Resources: Judges and professors use a lot of legal jargon. Here's a way to look it up.

Students with disabilities: Students with disabilities who may need accommodations for any sort of disability are invited to make an appointment to see me.

Special Thanks: to those who previously taught this course, Jason Schultz, Aaron Perzanowski, Fred von Lohmann, and Pamela Samuelson, upon whose work this syllabus is based.


Monday, September 1 (ACADEMIC HOLIDAY – NO CLASS)


Wednesday, September 3

  • Intro to Trade Secrets, Copyright, Patents, & Trademark Law, statutory and/or constitutional bases for same;
  • Administrative matters (exams, participation, reading court opinions, U.S. courts);
  • Explanation of Wikipedia Project.
  • Subscribe to 5 Useful Articles

Monday, September 8

(A-K on call)

Wednesday, September 10

(L-Z on call)

Monday, September 15

(A-K on call)

  • Create a Wikipedia account and list your username on our Wikipedia United States Education course page.
  • Copyright Overview: intro, scope, exclusive rights, remedies
  • Copyright Protection for Code: copying of literal and nonliteral elements of code, abstraction-filtration-comparison, copying of functional elements, protocols, screen displays, and user interfaces SAIL 31-37.

Wednesday, September 17

(L-Z on call)

Monday, September 22

(A-K on call)

Wednesday, September 24

(L-Z on call)

Monday, September 29

(A-K on call)

Wednesday, October 1

(L-Z on call)

Monday, October 6

(A-K on call)

Wednesday, October 8

  • Outline draft of Wikipedia project due. Begin writing 3-4 paragraph summary version of article (with citations).
  • Sign up to be the First Reviewer of a classmate's Wikipedia article
  • Readings TBA

Monday, October 13

  • Continue revising and improving Wikipedia article. Refer to Brian's Wikipedia Project Checklist!
  • Sign up to be a Second Reviewer of a classmate's Wikipedia article.
  • 24-Hour Take-Home midterm exam
    • Available October 13, 10:30 A.M.; DUE October 14, 10:30 A.M.

Wednesday, October 15

(L-Z on call)

Monday, October 20

(A-K on call)

Wednesday, October 22

(L-Z on call)

Monday, October 27

(A-K on call)

Wednesday, October 29

(L-Z on call)

Monday, November 3

(A-K on call)

Wednesday, November 5

(L-Z on call)

Monday, November 10

(A-K on call)

Wednesday, November 12

(L-Z on call)

Monday, November 17

(A-K on call)

Wednesday, November 19

(L-Z on call)

Monday, November 24

(A-K on call)

Wednesday, November 26

  • Readings TBD

Monday, December 1

(L-Z on call)

Wednesday, December 3

Monday, December 8 (RRR Week – NO CLASS)

  • RRR Week – No Class.

Wednesday, December 10 (RRR Week – NO CLASS)

  • RRR Week – No Class.

December 15-16 FINAL EXAM

  • 24-Hour Take-Home exam
    • Available December 15, 9:00 A.M.; DUE December 16, 9:00 A.M.