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Students who enroll in the Detkin IP and Technology Legal Clinic (“DIPTC”) learn to straddle the worlds of law, business, technology and the arts.

The DIPTC gives students a unique opportunity to learn by helping clients solve their real-life IP problems. Students work on patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, privacy and data protection issues specifically chosen to provide an overview of different IP law career settings. Clients vary by size, focus and industry to provide a rich experience for the class, and may include scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, and large and small for-profit and non-profit entities. A central client for the DIPTC is Penn Center for Innovation.

A simultaneous seminar provides a supportive and dynamic learning environment for students to develop and practice essential skills — including interviewing, drafting, negotiating, and client counseling — through simulations and exercises. The DIPTC also provides opportunities to interact with students from other professional schools and members of the Philadelphia Bar formally and informally to deepen students’ professional understanding of how to be an effective counselor in business, technical and arts-oriented settings. Case rounds and weekly supervisory sessions with an experienced faculty-practitioner reinforce and expand concepts presented in cases, and give students a chance to reflect upon and deepen their understanding of ethical, practical and substantive issues.

Registration Information

Detkin IP & Technology Clinic One semester course offered both Fall and Spring semesters
# of Credits:

7 credits (students may apply 1 credit toward their pro bono requirement)

Pre-requisites: None
Registration Information:

Open to JD 3L students and 1st and 2nd semester 2L students.

LLM students may enroll, but should not register during Advance Registration as an interview with DIPTC faculty is required. Consult these Registration instructions.


What are the goals for students who take the DIPTC?

The DIPTC client work and seminar are designed to help students begin to develop a professional identity as thoughtful, ethical practitioners. Specifically the DIPTC seeks to:

  • Help students to understand and adopt their role as business strategists
  • Introduce students to the broad range of clients they may encounter practicing IP law, and how to effectively represent them
  • Broaden students’ conception of IP law careers by introducing them to different industries and topics
  • Deepen students’ facility with substantive IP law
  • Develop and strengthen students’ lawyering skills (especially drafting, negotiation, and counseling)
  • Allow students to fit the practice of IP law into a larger context
  • Aid underrepresented entrepreneurs and arts, science, and technology clients and strengthen the Philadelphia creative community  

How does this course differ from other “experiential learning” courses?

A clinic is different from a simulation course in that students must “first chair” cases with real clients and real issues. A clinic is different from an externship in that students do direct client work with a high level of autonomy and cases are chosen deliberately for their teaching value and community impact. A clinic is a rare opportunity to practice law in a small, controlled setting, with constant feedback and supervision. The simultaneous seminar teaches practice skills students will need to service their clients better, and deepens the context for what students are learning in the cases.

Why and how is this clinic “interdisciplinary?”

In order to become comfortable practicing in a business, technical or arts-focused setting, students should have the chance to experience different points of view and reflect upon how to add value as a counselor. Students in the DIPTC will start to develop their professional identities by interacting in formal and informal ways with students and professors from other professional schools at Penn, such as Wharton, SEAS, and the Perelman School of Medicine.

Who are DIPTC’s clients?

Clients will differ from semester to semester but will be chosen to

  • Provide a varied and balanced experience for the class
  • Provide interesting work for individual students and teams
  • Impact the entrepreneurial, science, arts, and technology communities  

Clients may include inventors, entrepreneurs, small companies, mature companies in IP-heavy industries, Penn Center for Innovation, NGOs, non-profit arts organizations, individual artists (visual and performing artists) and authors.

Who should take this course?

Students interested in the intersection of law and science, law and technology, or law and the arts are obvious choices. However, since IP law touches every business, students that even suspect they might want to practice corporate law should also consider the course. Students need not have a science or technical degree to take the DIPTC, although students would do best with a facility or an interest in science, technology, business, or the arts. Most importantly, students need to be responsible, hard-working and diligent in order to handle the client responsibility.

What should I expect by taking the DIPTC?

Students report that clinics demand more time and effort than most other classes. You should take an otherwise light caseload during the semester you take the DIPTC, especially since client work tends to ramp-up during exam period. However, students also report that the clinic experience was well worth the effort – for many, their experience in the DIPTC was a high point of their time in law school.

Are there prerequisites?

No, but the DIPTC does assume some familiarity with the legal subject matter. Introduction to Intellectual Property, or at least one of Patent Law, Copyright, or Trademark (or faculty approval) is a prerequisite.

What is the time commitment?

This is a semester-long clinic, offered both the Fall and Spring Semesters.

Seminar sessions meet twice per week, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:30-2:50. Client work occurs outside class time and will take approximately 10 hours/week (not including a        1-hour weekly supervision session with the professor). Class preparation per week (including simulations) will take approximately 4-6 hours.  Total = 20 hours/week.

How will the DIPTC be graded?

Students receive one grade for the course. Factors contributing to grading include: class participation and preparedness, client work (both quality and diligence), several drafting assignments, and some oral skills-building exercises.