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Law School Announces New Master of Science in Patent Law Program

APRIL 7, 2014—Beginning next fall, the Law School will offer a one-year Master of Science in Patent Law Program specifically for scientists and engineers. Developed by Associate Dean Sharon Reich Paulsen and Professors Tom Cotter, William McGeveran and Ruth Okediji, the unique program will prepare students for a variety of careers, including patent prosecution, portfolio management, technology licensing and innovation. Chris Frank, who holds a B.S. in chemical engineering and a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law, has been hired as director. His previous experience includes patent prosecution and portfolio management for clients ranging from individual inventors to Fortune 500 corporations.

The curriculum will combine J.D. courses with courses expressly designed for the program. "We're excited to welcome into our classrooms scientists and engineers who wish to enhance their knowledge base and professional credentials with a particular focus on patent law and intellectual property," says Reich Paulsen.

"Patent filings have nearly doubled since 2000, while the number of new patent bar members has remained flat," says Frank. "This is a true opportunity gap. As companies continue to file more patents, there is an increasing need for patent professionals who offer a more strategic and sophisticated approach to patent law. Our program has been designed to meet this need."

Tuition will be equivalent to one year of law school. For the inaugural class only, scholarships of $15,000-20,000 will be offered to those accepted. Graduates of the program will have the opportunity to take a patent bar review course at the Law School to prepare for the patent bar exam. "Patent bar review courses are only offered in a few places around the country, so we're pleased that we can offer this on-site course to our students," says Reich Paulsen.

More information can be found at law.umn.edu/legaledprograms/mspl.html.