Thursday March 22, 2007

Patent-ly Reaching New Heights

The Ohio Board of Regents today approved two programs for the School of Law that will place UD among a few nationwide that offer advanced law degrees in intellectual property

The Ohio Board of Regents today approved two programs for the University of Dayton School of Law that will place UD among a few nationwide that offer advanced law degrees in intellectual property.

The Master of Law (LL.M.) degree is an advanced law degree for anyone who already has received a law degree anywhere in the world. New UD Program in Law and Technology Director Kelly Henrici said lawyers with an LL.M. in intellectual property are in high demand because the U.S. is a leading exporter of intellectual property and U.S. representatives help set international intellectual property standards.

Henrici added that an LL.M. degree will help anyone interested in teaching law.

A Master in the Study of Law (M.S.L.) degree is designed for anyone who possesses an undergraduate degree in an area other than law but wishes to acquire advanced knowledge of the law within a particular area. For example, an entrepreneur, engineer or scientist who needs to better understand how to protect intellectual property could benefit from this program. Henrici also used the example of marketers learning what protections there are for product branding strategies. An M.S.L. degree alone is not enough to practice law.

Both programs will have a strong emphasis in technology commercialization.

"This builds on our nationally acclaimed expertise in intellectual property, cyberspace and law related to technology," UD School of Law Dean Lisa Kloppenberg said.

UD officials believe this is the 19th U.S. law school, and one of two in Ohio, to offer an LL.M. degree in intellectual property. UD's M.S.L. in intellectual property is the first in Ohio and believed to be the second in the U.S.

The degrees are designed with part-time students in mind, but full-time students can complete the degrees in about a year. The School of Law now will start accepting students for the fall 2007 semester, according to Henrici.

"We have some interest from current students and alumni," said Henrici, who also will work with UD's Center for International Programs to recruit students. "The level of interest before we received final approval is very encouraging indeed."

These two new offerings are part of the UD School of Law's Program in Law and Technology.

"This wouldn't have happened without tremendous support and desire from the graduate school and the law school, especially Professor Cooley Howarth who helped develop the programs," Henrici said.

She said her job is to make sure the program's curriculum keeps pace with the latest in intellectual property, help students get real-world experience in line with the school's Lawyer as Problem Solver program and reach out to the region's intellectual property community for ways to help each other.

Henrici, who joined the School of Law in January, is the former general counsel for The Relizon Co. and a former corporate attorney for The Reynolds & Reynolds Co. She is a 1994 graduate of UD's law school.

For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson at 937-229-3391.