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Our Approach and Curriculum

The Program's Approach

Legal practice is a combination of legal knowledge and the skills required to apply that knowledge to achieve client objectives. Our program offers two types of courses that address each component of legal practice.

First, we offer traditional courses in substantive legal doctrine, statutes and regulations. That's the "knowledge" component. These courses are taught primarily in a lecture-based format with robust class discussion. Readings consist primarily of court decisions, statutes and regulations.

Second, we offer workshop-style courses that focus on the lawyering skills and business concepts that are critical in legal practice. That's the "skills" component. These courses, which are often taught by experienced practitioners, are conducted in an interactive format that involves regular oral and written exercises, both individual and group. The readings may consist of court decisions, briefs and complaints, contracts, client correspondence, corporate organizational documents, and financial materials.

Below are "profiles" of some of the courses that we typically offer. These profiles are abbreviated descriptions to give you an overview of our curriculum. The number of credits for each course is indicated in parentheses after each title. Full course descriptions can be found on the general law school website. The specific courses offered each year may differ from the courses listed below.

Substantive Law Courses

Antitrust (3)

This course covers all fundamental substantive areas of antitrust, including horizontal restraints, vertical restraints and mergers, as well as practical issues relating to litigation strategy and planning advice. The course applies substantive doctrine to analyze cutting-edge antitrust issues in technology markets, including the government litigation against Microsoft, the "Apple e-books" litigation, the investigation of Google, and patent licensing entities in electronics markets.

Communications Law: Internet, Television and Other Media (3)

This course surveys US law regulating the telephone, cable, broadcasting and broadband industries. Current topics include net neutrality, universal service reform, broadcaster/cable-DBS retransmission consent disputes, vertical and horizontal concentration by distributors and content owners, and the digital divide. Role-playing by students of industry advocates and government officials are used to illustrate the sources and consequences of disputes and rulemakings. This course is taught by a state court judge and former partner at a major national law firm, specializing in regulatory matters.

Entertainment Law (2)

This course, taught by a partner at a major talent law firm and an in-house lawyer at a major production entity, provides an introduction to entertainment law, with a focus on transactional practice. Students will be introduced to the role of studios, music labels, talent agents, personal managers, banks and other financiers, attorneys, the guilds, and government regulation, as well as to legal issues that frequently arise in entertainment transactions and litigation, including contract issues and remedies, rights of publicity and of privacy, idea protection, artistic credit and billing, profit participations, and vertical integration.

Intellectual Property Licensing (2)

Licensing is a core issue in any intellectual property practice area. The instructor is a seasoned practitioner who helps students analyze the key clauses and royalty mechanics of licensing agreements. This course provides an expansive overview of licensing issues that are specific to physical and online intellectual property markets, including the motion picture, television, recording and software industries.

Internet Law (2)

This course examines how the law has adapted to the technology of the Internet, and vice versa, and the broader implications of those adaptations. The objectives of this course are to give students a basic working knowledge of the most common Internet-related issues that they may encounter when they begin their careers as practicing lawyers, and to provide tools to analyze variants of those issues as they arise. The course is taught by a partner at a major national law firm, specializing in intellectual property matters.

Intellectual Property (3)

This course is an introductory survey of statutory and case law relating to patents, copyright, trademark, trade secrets and certain common law protections. The course is designed both for prospective generalists who wish to acquire a global knowledge of intellectual property law and prospective specialists who wish to acquire a foundation for further study and practice in intellectual property law or related fields.

Patent Law (3)

This course covers all fundamental aspects of patent law. The instructor is a former partner at one of the country's leading intellectual property litigation firms and is currently of counsel at a patent litigation firm.

Topics in Entertainment Law: Legal and Business Issues in the Digital Age (2)

This course explores the legal and business implications of digital technology in the creative industries. We examine the distribution platforms, financial and operational structures, and other issues encountered in connection with the exploitation of entertainment content in the emerging construct of new media and technology. The instructor is an entertainment attorney, studio executive and media consultant with over 30 years of practical experience in the industry.

Venture Capital Law and Finance (3)

Introduces students to the unique legal and financial aspects of the venture capital industry and the skills needed to represent entrepreneurs and venture capital investors. The instructor is a partner at a major national law firm.

Skills/Workshop Courses

Deal Structure, Drafting and Negotiation (4)

This course exposes students to the legal and business skills, concepts and practices involved in structuring, drafting and negotiating various types of financing, production and distribution deals in the entertainment industry. This is a practical course that covers the details of transactions and agreements encountered during development (e.g. overall term deals), production (e.g. production financing, completion guarantees), distribution (e.g. agreements with distributors, exhibitors and other end-users), and accounting and financial reporting of film performance. The instructor is a veteran entertainment attorney, major studio executive, investment banker and media consultant with more than 42 years of practical experience in the entertainment and media industry.

Deals (3)

This is a capstone course in dealmaking skills and analysis for students with a strong background in corporate and business law. Through oral and written exercises, students will apply fundamental business concepts such as risk allocation, hold-up, and optionality and apply those concepts to analyze contractual structures in selected M&A, joint venture, private equity, or venture capital transactions. The course culminates in a multi-week deal simulation exercise in which student teams negotiate a detailed term sheet on behalf of hypothetical clients. Each team will present their ideas in class to actual lawyers and/or businesspeople who worked on each deal. The course is taught by an instructor from the law school and an instructor from the business school. Students are drawn from both schools.

Entertainment Law in Practice (3)

Students will acquire a toolbox of legal, analytical, and client management skills required to service a broad spectrum of entertainment industry clients. Students will be assigned to representative entertainment industry clients in film, television, music, talent agency and new media settings. Students will be expected to prepare, negotiate and edit a variety of client deliverables, including written agreements, government filings, and communications with the hypothetical client. The instructor is a partner at a major national law firm.

Patent Litigation Workshop (3)

This course simulates a patent infringement litigation from start to finish. Students are exposed to documents from actual infringement litigations, including motion papers, briefs, exhibits, discovery materials and other documents. The workshop is interactive and designed to simulate the experience of a junior associate in the litigation group of a national law firm. The instructor is a partner at one of the country's leading national law firms, with an extensive practice in patent infringement litigation.

Patent Drafting and Prosecution (3)

In this course, students learn how to prepare and prosecute utility patent applications, with additional coverage of issues relating to design patent and foreign patent prosecution. Oral and written drafting and simulation exercises cover the full gamut of the patent prosecution process, including drafting patent claims, preparing a patent application, responding to a patent office rejection, and preparing for and participating in a mock patent examiner interview. The instructor is a partner at a major national law firm.

Sports Law in Practice (2)

This course covers legal and business issues relating to four key areas of sports law practice: ticketing, merchandise licensing, sponsorships and broadcasting. The course will focus on practical skills, including hypothetical client problem solving, contract drafting and negotiation simulation and presentation skills. Course materials will consist principally of sports-related contracts, including sports franchise charter and constituent agreements. The instructor is a partner at a major national law firm.

Technology Transactions Workshop (3)

This course exposes students to the "nuts and bolts" of negotiating licensing and other technology transfer transactions, whether involving patents, trade secrets, know-how or other forms of intellectual property. Students are exposed to the types of documents encountered in transactional intellectual property practice, including term sheets, licensing and other contractual agreements, patents and other materials. The instructor is a former partner in the Silicon Valley business practice of a leading law firm, acted as general counsel for several technology companies, and has headed technology licensing teams at major research universities.

Trademark Law in Practice (2)

This course teaches students how to apply the law of trademarks to everyday practice. Through a series of projects and exercises, we will examine a variety of issues that confront trademark users and their lawyers, including the selection and clearance of new marks, obtaining a federal registration, the proper use of marks, the negotiation and drafting of trademark licenses and co-existence agreements, and strategies for enforcing trademarks, and prosecuting, defending, and avoiding administrative and civil litigation. The instructor is a partner at a major firm in trademark practice, with almost 35 years of experience.

Video Game Law in Practice (2)

This course - which is taught by practicing, in-house video game lawyers - covers the most essential topics in video game law, including: content creation and acquisition; distribution, publishing and marketing; brand management; user management; cybersecurity; eSports; online gambling; virtual currency and property; and related international issues.

USC Gould Institutes

USC Intellectual Property Institute

USC Entertainment Law and Business Institute

Entertainment Law News

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