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The Intellectual Property Institute

Directed by Professor Russ VerSteeg


Intellectual property law is one of the fastest growing areas of legal specialization. It is intellectually stimulating, Professor VerSteeg points out, because it combines abstract and practical elements. "At the core of intellectual property law is the concept that, if someone thinks up something either original or novel, that creation ought to have property-like protections," says Professor VerSteeg. "The law draws lines between the intangible and the concrete and between the public domain and private property. These are fields where technology and law intersect – and often clash – in novel and dramatic ways."
Professors VerSteeg and Karol Professors Russ VerSteeg and Peter Karol
  • Focused on one of the fastest growing areas of legal specialization, this institute’s activities are aimed at the cutting edge of technology and law – encompassing such technologies as genetic engineering and the Internet – and issues as diverse as intellectual property protection for fashion, and damages for downloading music files.
    • Professor Russ VerSteeg, director of the institute, writes extensively on intellectual property law, including a chapter on “Originality and Creativity in Copyright Law” in the book, Intellectual Property and Information Wealth: Issues and Practices in the Digital Age. This four-volume work is considered the go-to resource for emerging issues in intellectual property law.
    • Professor Karol, a former intellectual property partner at the Sunstein law firm in Boston, brings his broad practice experience as a patent, trademark and copyright litigator, and global IP portfolio developer, to the Institute. Professor Karol’s scholarship focuses on a  diverse array of intellectual property subjects, including scholarly articles in the fields of patent litigation procedure, trademark history, and peer-to-peer copyright infringement.

Summer Fellowship Placements

  • Using an array of professional contacts, the institute secures summer fellowships for outstanding students at some of the most highly regarded intellectual property law firms in the Boston area, including funded placements in 2013 in the fields of patent litigation, and trademark, copyright and publishing law.


  • Boston Intellectual Property American Inn of Court:  New England Law students who are active in the IP Institute and the IP Law Association have the opportunity to attend meetings of the Boston Intellectual Property American Inn of Court, a member of the Linn Inn Alliance, established by Judge Linn of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  Judge Richard G. Stearns of the U.S. District Court (MA) is president of the Boston Inn, and the membership includes numerous federal court judges, leading members of the IP bar, and law students.  In 2013, Prof. Karol moderated a symposium sponsored by the New England Law Review concerning Rutgers Professor Stuart Green’s recent work, Thirteen Ways to Steal a Bicycle, focused on intersection of theft and intellectual property law.
  • Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court Competition:  During the 2012-2013 academic year, New England Law entered this IP competition sponsored by the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA). 
  • Writing Competitions:  The IP Institute promotes student participation in a number of IP writing competitions including the annual Robert C. Watson Award Competition, sponsored by AIPLA; the Boston Patent Law Association (BPLA) Annual Writing Competition; and the Honorable William C. Conner Intellectual Property Law Writing Competition, sponsored by the New York Intellectual Property Law Association.
  • IP Seminars:  In 2013, the IP Law Association co-presented “Intellectual Property Law: Evolution and Reform,” a panel concerning the future of intellectual property litigation featuring highly regarded scholars in the field, moderated by Prof. Jordan Singer. The IP Law Association also assisted in presenting the Human Rights Day Symposium, moderated by Prof. VerSteeg, on “Global Access to Health Care & Medicines vs. Int’l Pharmaceutical Patent Law.”
  • IP Career Counseling:  Professors Karol and VerSteeg share their experience and contacts with students who wish to pursue IP careers.
  • Intellectual Property Law Association (student organization)
  • Art and Fashion Law Society (student organization)