School of Law to begin one-year patent practice master’s degree program this fall

First-for-Ohio program seen as attractive career option for those with engineering or science academic background

Case Western Reserve University School of Law is launching a one-year master’s in patent practice degree program this fall semester.

A first of its kind in Ohio, the program is designed to prepare students with academic backgrounds in science or engineering for careers as patent agents, without requiring a three-year law degree.

A patent agent is a legal specialist who has passed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) patent bar exam. Unlike patent attorneys, patent agents do not have to pass a state bar exam. They can work for law firms, in a corporate legal department, or practice independently.

Craig Nard
Craig Nard

“It’s a great alternative. It allows these students to marry their first academic love with a viable, fulfilling career path,” said Craig Nard, Galen J. Roush Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve’s law school. He directs the Spangenberg Center for Law, Technology & the Arts and the FUSION Certificate Program in Design, Innovation & IP Management.

The program will cover a curriculum related to patent and intellectual property law. Courses in the new program include Commercialization & IP Management, Patent Preparation & Drafting, and a Claim Drafting Lab, as well as other areas related to patent law.

Nard said only a few other law schools nationally offer a similar program. The Ohio Board of Regents recently approved the degree program.

To apply, candidates must be eligible to sit for the USPTO patent bar, which generally requires a scientific or engineering background. Learn more online.

For foreign-trained patent lawyers who work in intellectual property, Case Western Reserve School of Law also offers an LLM program in Intellectual Property Law.