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Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic

USC Gould School of Law

Represent clients in matters at the leading edge of copyright and trademark protection, privacy issues, the First Amendment and other crucial issues of the information age through our Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic (IPTLC).

Ranked by the Hollywood Reporter as among the top entertainment law programs nationally, the clinic represents filmmakers, game developers, artists, entrepreneurs and nonprofits. Students work with real-life clients dealing with the complexities of intellectual property and technology law, mitigating legal risks while helping clients meet their business and creative goals.

Why Choose Intellectual Property and Technology?

Find out more about IPTLC

Opportunities in the specialty will continue to grow, as we now live in a globalized economy driven by information and technology. The laws protecting copyrights and trademarks are more complex than ever, as the balance between the rights of creators of intellectual property and those who seek to use that content becomes increasingly challenging to maintain.

Students in the clinic represent budding filmmakers, artists, game developers, entrepreneurs and nonprofits who are struggling with the challenges presented at the intersection of creative expression, technology, law and policy. Many of our clients are minority-owned or women-owned businesses.

The clinic also seeks to shape national copyright policy by filing for Digital Millennium Copyright Act exemptions to address the needs of clients from documentary filmmakers to farmers, and by submitting comments to public studies conducted by the U.S. Copyright Office.

Types of Projects

Students work on issues related to copyright and fair use, trademark registrations, licensing and contract law. You may also deal with issues involving trade secrets or a client's need to protect confidential information.

Recent representative projects include:

  • fair use analysis of movie and other clips included in several documentary films addressing topics such as the influence of music, the impact of social media on celebrity status and the challenges faced by women in Hollywood
  • drafting a license agreement for designers whose work is exhibited and distributed through an online subscription service that allows anyone to experience 3D printing while also providing a promotional platform for 3D designers
  • advising a local entrepreneur regarding the selection of a restaurant name for trademark registration

Partnerships with the USC School of Cinematic Arts and Advanced Games Program provide you with the opportunity to support creative teams producing new content innovations across multiple platforms.

The clinic handles approximately 24 clients per year.

Selection Process

First-year JD students are invited to apply in the spring for the following academic year. Because of the hands-on nature of the clinic, enrollment is limited to eight students per year.

Academic Credit

The clinic is offered as a course within the JD curriculum and, if selected, you will receive academic credit. Students enroll in the clinical course for one year. You will obtain a thorough grounding in:

  • trademark
  • copyright and fair use
  • the right of publicity
  • unfair competition
  • contracts relating to intellectual property ownership
  • basic license agreements
  • privacy policies and terms of use agreements

Learning Outcomes

Crucial skills developed through firsthand experience aiding clients include:

  • registering copyrights and trademarks
  • corresponding with administrative agencies
  • drafting transactional agreements
  • managing intellectual property assets
  • counseling and advocating for clients
  • research, writing and analytical skills
  • collaboration and teamwork
  • business evaluation and guidance
  • effective communication and problem-solving

Clinical Director

Valerie Barreiro is director of the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic. She previously served as vice president of Legal Affairs at NBCUniversal, where she structured, negotiated and drafted key agreements for the development, production and exhibition of such unscripted programs as The Voice. She also provided legal counsel to senior executives at the Universal Television Studio. After beginning her career at the Los Angeles District Attorney's office, Prof. Barreiro joined NBC as media counsel in 2006. She graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she was an editor of the Communications and Entertainment Law Journal.



Student & Alumni Testimonials

"No one should doubt the value of a clinical course in providing students with hands-on legal experiences. The real-life legal problems may be challenging, but you know that there is always a leader in the field at your side ready to help guide you through. Professor Barreiro is genuinely interested in helping the clinic's clients while at the same time ensuring that it is a valuable learning experience for the clinic's students."
Stephen Tang, JD '17


""The Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic was by far the most practical course I took at USC. Not only was I constantly learning important intellectual property theory during lecture every week, but I was also learning how to work with a team in a time-pressured environment to advocate for actual clients."
Ashlee Lin, JD '10, Associate, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy

Client Testimonials

"The Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic has made a number of significant contributions to the documentary filmmaking community. Without the support of the clinic's efforts in public interest advocacy, it would be much tougher for documentary filmmakers to do the critically important work they do throughout the world."
Michael Lumpkin, Executive Director, International Documentary Association

"The work of the IP Law Clinic at USC has been extremely helpful to all filmmakers by clarifying the state of fair use law. Their advice has been essential for us and other filmmakers who want to use fair use and comply with the law."
Amanda Micheli, Oscar-nominated Director
Karen Johnson, Producer

Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic in the News

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