Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual Property Law

Innovation has made information, science and technology in their many varied forms dominant influences on society and the economy, and advances in biotechnology, computer science, nanotechnology, and digital art forms have accelerated the pace of change worldwide. Increasingly, creators, compilers, publishers, interpreters, remixers, commentators, users, consumers, appropriators and regulators of innovation must rely on the law of intellectual property to settle disputes.

The burgeoning field of intellectual property law encompasses patent, copyright, trademark, trade secrets and many other fascinating legal theories for protecting and regulating an expanding list of innovations and creations, including writings, music, art, dance, performances, architectural works, scientific and technical inventions, compilations of data, business models, brands, names used in trade, know how, business secrets, confidential information and even celebrity publicity. Knowledge of intellectual property law is now a fundamental part of a good legal education.

KU Law alumni include patent examiners at the United States Patent & Trademark Office and intellectual property attorneys at leading firms across the United States, such as Fish & Richardson PC; Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP; Goodwin Procter; Christensen O’Connor Johnson Kindness PLLC; Hovey Williams LLP; and Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP.


KU Law offers a rich and expanding program in intellectual property law. Professor Andrew Torrance teaches a comprehensive survey course covering all forms of intellectual property protection. Professors Mike Hoeflich, Mike Kautsch, Phil DeLaTorre and Andrew Torrance offer specialty classes in patent, copyright, digital copyright, trademark, media, biotechnology, and international and comparative intellectual property law.

In addition, Professors Raj Bhala, Elizabeth Kronk Warner, and Andrew Torrance offer classes in international trade, indigenous, and biodiversity law, respectively, that include coverage of intellectual property issues. Any of these professors are available to supervise research papers on intellectual property topics sufficient to fulfill the school's writing requirement, and several previous student papers have been published in law reviews or garnered competitive awards.

Some of the courses offered in the area of intellectual property law include:

  • Intellectual Property
  • Patent Law
  • Introduction to Copyright in Literary and Artistic
  • Copyright Law and Digital Works
  • Food and Drug Law
  • International Trade Law
  • Patent Practice

Course descriptions

The Patent Conference

The Patent Conference is the largest annual conference for patent scholars in the world. The conference is a cooperative effort among the University of Kansas School of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, University of San Diego School of Law, and Boston College Law School to hold an annual conference where patent scholars in law, economics, management science, and other disciplines can share their research.

In 2010, the founders of PatCon — law professors David Olson, David Schwartz, Ted Sichelman and Andrew Torrance — realized that the growth and importance of research in the area of patents required an exclusive forum that would enable participants to share their research with other experts and explore links across the legal and business side of patents.

KU Law hosted the inaugural Patent Conference in April 2011. The conferences rotates among KU, Boston College, Northwestern and San Diego.

Written Description named PatCon among the top three intellectual property conferences in the United States.

PatCon9 | April 5 - 6, 2019 | University of Kansas School of Law

1535 W. 15th Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66045


PatCon9 schedule coming soon.

Speakers include:

  • Chris Holt, Vice President of Patent Analytics at Reed Technology
  • Kevin Noonan, Partner, MBHB; author of Patent Docs blog
  • Lisa Larrimore Ouellette, Associate Professor at Stanford Law School; author of Written Description blog
  • A. Christal Sheppard, Executive Vice President for Strategy & Business Development at IPwe Patents
  • Ian Wetherbee, Senior Software Engineer/Manager at Google Patents

Questions? Contact Professor Andrew Torrance at 785-864-9222 or

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Past Conferences

Other Opportunities

Outside the classroom there are numerous rich experiences available to students interested in further pursuing their interests in intellectual property law. Students may join the Intellectual Property Law Student Association, which is run by students for the purpose of encouraging interest in their field by sponsoring interesting speakers and events.

KU Law can also help place students in externships and internships at the KU Center for Technology Commercialization.


Andrew Torrance
Professor of Law

PatCon5 | The 5th Annual Patent Conference