IP Clinic Student Attorneys File Amici Curiae Brief with U.S. Supreme Court

A team of student attorneys from Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic filed an amici curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court today urging the Court to affirm a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which held that Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act allows plaintiffs to sue for copyright infringement only after the Copyright Office has issued a final action on an application for registration. The brief was filed on behalf of individual authors and educators and was written by students Andrew Levey, Ben Kessler, Hailie Ingman, Mariana Viera, and Ted Sotland under the supervision of Professors Hillary Brill and Peter Jaszi.

The Supreme Court has taken on the case to resolve the circuit split over whether “registration” means, as the plaintiff argues, the mere filing of an application for registration. The Fifth and Ninth Circuits have taken that view. The Eleventh and Tenth Circuits, however, hold that the registration requirement in Section 411(a) means the Copyright Office has either approved or denied registration.

The amici curiae brief argues that the plaintiff’s reading of “registration” undermines the institutional history of the Copyright Office and the registration system, negates Congressional intent, and creates legal ambiguity and inefficiency for courts, parties, and the general public. Interpreting the term “registration” to mean a final action from the Copyright Office upholds the standards of copyright quality and respects the Copyright Office’s expertise in issues of copyrightability. Thus, the Eleventh Circuit’s decision that “register” means an action by the Copyright Office should be upheld.

The initial case arises from an infringement action by the petitioner, Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation, which creates online news content and licenses it to third-parties. The respondents, Wall-Street.com published some of the petitioner’s content under a licensing agreement. After canceling the licensing agreement, respondents allegedly continued to publish the petitioner’s content. Fourth Estate sued for infringement immediately after applying for registration.

While the petitioner’s application was pending, respondents moved to dismiss the complaint under pre-litigation registration requirement in Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act. The district court dismissed the case on the grounds that “registration” required a final action by the Copyright Office, rather than the mere filing of an application. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed.  The Supreme Court is expected to hear argument in January.

CLICK HERE to view the brief.

Posted in Clinic News

AUWCL Welcomes Former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn

Yesterday we welcomed former FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn to our inaugural Communications and Media Law Society Fall Fireside Chat. Thanks to alum and FCC official Holly Saurer and current students Joseph Kerins and Pooja Tolani for bringing their inspirational boss to campus!!  Even after leaving the FCC, Clyburn continues to champion issues in communications and technology vital to consumers and marginalized communities.

Click here for a more detailed recap of the event.


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Women in the Law: IP Edition

wip 3American University Washington College of Law welcomed IP Clinic alumni for a panel titled Women in Law: IP Edition, a collaboration with WCL Women in the Law Program and the Program on Information Justice & Intellectual Property.

Jessica Flores, Associate in Foley & Lardner, LLP’s patent practice and Camille Stewart, Deloitte Security Fellow and Truman National Security Project Fellow, discussed career paths that women interested in IP & technology can pursue.  Both credited the IP Clinic with providing them with the skills that they needed for success in their fields, particularly, the ability to work on client matters and to explore different areas of IP and technology law.


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IP Networking Reception Recap

On Sept. 6, the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP)  and the Intellectual Property Law Society organized an intellectual property networking reception at the Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center. The event welcomed AUWCL students interested in intellectual property, alumni working in the field, and the law school’s faculty and was hosted by Senior Director of Intellectual Property Policy at Microsoft Susan Mann (WCL ’86.)  Thanks to the many IP Clinic alums who came and mingled with our current students.  The connections are already paying dividends as these students begin to plan their careers in the field.

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Congratulations Andrea Harrington!

Please join us in congratulating Berkshire County District Attorney-Elect and IP Clinic Alum Andrea Harrington!  Andrea will be the new Berkshire County District Attorney after running a successful grassroots campaign and sharing her progressive vision for criminal justice reform.  Andrea’s win is monumental, as she is the first woman to ever be elected District Attorney inthe history of Berkshire County!

We will be cheering Andrea on as she works to achieve criminal justice reform and further advance the Berkshire DA office’s long-standing commitment to justice.A. Harrington

Posted in Clinic News

USPTO Adds Additional Schools to Law School Clinic Certification Program

The Glushko-Samuelson Washington College of Law IP Clinic is proud to have been a key player in establishing the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program years ago.

The USPTO just released a statement detailing how the Law School Clinic Certification Program has grown.  “Over 20 law schools have joined and five currently participating law schools have added a second clinic program, during the 2016-2018 expansion. Eight law schools have joined both the patent and trademark portions of the program, five law schools have joined the patent portion of the program, and 12 law schools have joined the trademark portion of the program. The new law schools join the 43 law schools that were participating in the program, bringing the total number of participating law schools to 63,” according to the USPTO.

The USPTO chose these schools “based on their solid intellectual property curricula, pro bono services to the public, as well as community networking and outreach. The program enables law students to process patent and trademark applications before the USPTO under the guidance of an approved faculty clinic supervisor.”

American University, Washington College of Law continues to be an active participant in the trademark and patent law student program.  The IP clinic this past academic year filed trademark registrations and filed provisional patents and non-provisional patent applications for its clients.

Read more about the creation of the IP clinic and the goals of clinical legal education:


For the full transcript of the USPTO release: https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/uspto-adds-additional-schools-law-school-clinic-certification-program

Posted in Clinic News

Clinic Alumni Receive “40 under 40 Nation’s Best Advocates” Award by NBA


Congratulations to IP Clinic alum Judge Zuberi Williams ’03 who has been awarded the National Bar Association’s  “40 Under 40 Nation’s Best Advocates” award.

Also receiving the award this year is Community Economic and Development clinic alum Alex Johnson ‘05.

The NBA award recognizes the nation’s top 40 lawyers under the age 40 who exemplify a broad range of high achievement in the legal field, including in advocacy, innovation, vision, leadership and overall legal and community involvement.

The recipients will be honored at the National Bar Association’s renowned 40 Under 40 Awards Gala on Wednesday, August 1, 2018, during the NBA’s 93rd Annual Convention & Exhibits in New Orleans, LA.




Posted in Clinic News

Surveying the Blossoming IP/ Tech Clinical Landscape


IP Clinic Director Professor Victoria Phillips has co-authored a piece with Cynthia Dahl of Penn surveying the emerging IP/Technology clinical community. The article will be published this Fall in the Clinical Law Review and a draft is available now on SSRN:

Innovation and Tradition: A Survey of Intellectual Property and Technology Legal Clinics https://ssrn.com/abstract=3184486

Posted in Clinic News, clinical education, ip clinic, IP clinics, survey, technology clinics | Tagged , , , , ,

USPTO Hosts Law School IP Clinics


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The Washington College of Law Glushko-Samuelson clinic has a long-standing tradition of working with the USPTO and in fact worked with the USPTO to start the student-attorney Law School Clinic Certification program.

Today, years later, the program has grown and on April 13th, the United States Patent and Trademark Office hosted many law school IP clinics from across the country that participate in its Law School Clinic Certification Program for a day of presentations, round table discussions, and networking.

Throughout the day, IP clinic student attendees from the WCL Glushko-Samuelson clinic and other clinics heard presentations from several USPTO representatives, including remarks from Andrei Iancu, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. IP clinic students also took part in round table discussions on current topics at the patent trial and appeal board, careers at the USPTO, and were able to ask patent and trademark examiners what it’s actually like to work at the USPTO. The day concluded with a simulated Trademark Trial and Appeal Board hearing, followed by a networking event for clinic students and faculty.

Our clinic students and faculty that attended had a wonderful time and are excited about all of the opportunities available at the USPTO. The IP Clinic looks forward to future visits to the USPTO and continuing to be part of this great program that allows our students to gain hands on experience within the intellectual property field.

Posted in Clinic News

Second Annual Startup Tips and Tricks Workshop Run by IP Clinic Students



WCL Glushko-Samuelson IP Clinic Students presented the second annual IP tips and tricks program for startups on April 18, 2018 at the Innovation Incubator: Center for Business and Innovation at American University’s Kogod School of Business.

Young entrepreneurs either at the initial stages of their startup ventures or in the process of building their businesses received key IP “tips and tricks” for technology startups. IP Clinic students Vanessa Michaud, Summer Benson, Melanie Singer, Alissa Logan, Pritika Ramesh, Kayla Matikonis, and Leah Pardais discussed essential trademark, copyright, patent, trade dress, privacy, and other issues important to technology startup businesses. Startup entrepreneurs engaged in a general Q&A and then received individualized assistance that was appreciated by the ventures.

The tips and tricks workshop is run from start to finish completely by the IP clinic students who prepared presentations and leave-behinds and provided hands-on intake assistance to the award-winning young startup entrepreneurs participating in the Innovation Incubator. The students’ success at the workshop is a culmination of the experiential learning IP clinic students received through student-led client work on a variety of key IP and technology issues throughout the academic year.

Posted in Clinic News