Course Information

Where, When:

  • Fall 2019 — Rm. 114-A
  • T 1:05 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Instructor Information:

Professor Christopher Cotropia
Room: Law School 321
Tel: 804-484-1574
Office Hours:  Just come by or e-mail

Course Objectives:

To gain a better understanding of intellectual property law and policy and demonstrate and apply that understanding through class participation, presentation, and research and writing.


  • Intellectual Property Stories (Jane C. Ginsburg & Rochelle Cooper Dreyfuss eds. 2006) (“IP Stories”)


The grading for this class will be based on the following:

1. Class Participation and “Five Interesting Things” (30% of final grade):

A.  All students receive a class participation score. I am looking for consistently insightful participation, not merely rapid observation of the obvious. The best sort of in-class comment is one that goes beyond mere recitation of the assigned material and adds a different perspective or insight to the discussion.  Class participation starts with coming to class.

B.  This part of the grade will also be based on a student’s submitted “five interesting things.”  Each student will be assigned two classes for which they must submit “five interesting things.”  These “five interesting things” should identify the five most interesting facts and/or observations related to intellectual property law or policy from that class’s readings, and the submitting student should be ready to discuss what makes these “things” so interesting.  The five interesting things are due to Professor Cotropia via e-mail by midnight eastern time the Sunday before the related class, which will then be distributed to the whole class.  The five interesting things, and the student’s insight as to why these are so interesting in the context of intellectual property law and policy, will then be used in class.  The assigned “five interesting things” classes will start Tuesday , September 3.

2. Paper Presentations  (15% of final grade):

Each student will present a draft of his or her paper. One to three students will present their papers every class.

3. Research Paper (55% of final grade):

Students will write a research paper that is in the mode of the materials that constitute the primary readings for the course: a sustained historical exploration and analysis of a case in intellectual property law.  The paper must be at least 5,000 words in length, not including citations (per the upper-level writing requirement requirements). This paper will fulfill the upper-level writing requirement.

For non-JD students, the length may be shorter.

The grading rubric for your final paper is available here.

All of the following items due shall be e-mailed to me ( with the title IP Law and Policy: Paper for [Your Name]. Please be sure to use the correct subject line, or your message might get tangled up in my spam filters and be considered “late.”

  • Topic Proposal

Students must first turn in, on or before September 23, 2019, an IP Story proposal. The proposal should be 1-3 pages long and include:

– a brief summary of the case your paper will focus on and
– a description of the legal, historical, and policy issues regarding the case you intend to address.

Failure to turn in your topic proposal on time will reduce your score for the paper by 25 percent.

  • Outline of Paper

An outline of your paper is due on or before October 16, 2019 *CHANGE*.  The outline should include enough detail to communicate to me the specific approach you will take to explain the historical, legal, and policy issues presented by the case and how you intend to analyze these issues.

Failure to turn in your outline on time will reduce your score for the paper by 25 percent.

  • First Draft of Paper

A first draft of your paper is due on or before November 18, 2019 *CHANGE*.

Failure to turn in the first draft of your paper on time will reduce your score for the paper by 25 percent.

  • Final Draft of Paper

A final draft of your paper absolutely must be turned in on or before December 20, 2019.

Failure to turn in your final draft on time will reduce your score for the paper by 50 percent.