IP Law at McKinney

Located in the heart of the Midwest in Indiana's capital city, and part of the largest law school in the state, the Center is well-positioned to have profound influence in areas of intellectual property law of particular salience to the life sciences. The Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law is also the home of the nationally renowned Hall Center for Law and Health, which for decades has conducted cutting edge legal and empirical research on health law issues.

The School of Medicine is at the forefront of basic, translational, and clinical research to improve health and prevent disease and provides the foundation for Indiana's life sciences economy.   Indiana's active, engaged, corporate life sciences sector encompasses every major industry including pharmaceuticals, hospitals, laboratories, medical devices, agricultural and organic chemicals, research, and testing. Government agencies and educational institutions in Indianapolis work together with the corporate sector to advance the life sciences.  Indianapolis is also home to law firms and businesses that are among the nation's leaders in intellectual property development and management. The law school is situated on the campus of a major research university, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, which includes one of the nation’s premier medical schools, the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Events, Functions and Activites

The IP Center serves as a dynamic resource for students, attorneys, business leaders, inventors, and scholars, and as a nucleus for IP development and protection by acting as an agent of evolution for IP doctrine, transferring IP information among various IP constituencies, creating programs to act as enzymes for innovation, and generating interest in and support for meaningful legal protection of IP.

The IP Center has held numerous events aimed at the many constituencies of IP law, including two major symposia: "The America Invents Act: Patent Law's New Lease on Life" (December 2011)  and Intellectual Property and Public Rights of Access: The Evolving 21st Century Balance  (November 2012).  For the December 2011 symposium, the IP Center assembled a distinguished group to analyze landmark patent reform legislation from a variety of perspectives, focusing on the Act’s implications for the life sciences.  Speakers included the former chief judge of the Federal Circuit, patent reform leaders, chief patent counsel of Fortune 500 corporations, leading practitioners and scholars, as well as the PTO’s Patent Reform Coordinator.  For the November 2012 symposium, our keynote speaker was Jeffrey B. Kindler, the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer, the world's largest research-based biopharmaceutical company.  Other speakers included a federal judge, chief patent and IP counsel of a Fortune 500 companies, a top official of the US Patent and Trademark Office, the CEO of Biocrossroads, and leading patent lawyers and IP scholars.

The Center also hosts a variety of speaker events specifically for students, typically over lunch, during which you’ll have an opportunity to learn and ask questions of lawyers who practice in IP. The Center also refers speakers for student association events.

Three IP related student associations, the Intellectual Property Student Association, the Fashion, Art, and Design Law Society, and the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, are active at the Law School. The IP Center works closely with the IP student organizations, which are growing and enthusiastic. The IP Center refers speakers to the students.

The Center’s activities are a mix of the academic and the practical, coupling history and theory with concrete applications of doctrine to real-world issues relating to IP rights. While many areas of IP law are particularly fascinating on a doctrinal level, IP law is ultimately a means to broader societal objectives, such as innovation and creativity. Given the increasing importance of intellectual property to society, IP issues are ubiquitous throughout the legal world. Knowledge of this area is therefore beneficial to non-specialists as well, including future executives, litigators, business lawyers, judges, in-house counsel, government attorneys, and others.


There are numerous constituencies in each area of IP law. While some IP initiatives can benefit multiple actors, the IP Center can perform specialized functions for different actors. The IP Center cultivates symbiotic relationships with numerous constituencies.

The actors in the world of patent law include:

  • Individual inventors
  • Corporate research departments
  • Fortune 500 companies (e.g. research based pharmaceutical companies)
  • Start-up companies
  • Government/university research centers
  • Generic pharmaceutical companies
  • Non-practicing entities (which buy up inventions of others, but do not practice the inventions)
  • In-house counsel
  • Patent prosecution attorneys/opinion counsel
  • Patent litigators
  • Jurors
  • Judges (district court, magistrate judge, appellate)
  • Law clerks
  • Government agencies (PTO, ITC, DOJ, FTC, FDA)
  • Congress (patent reform)
  • Mediators and arbitrators
  • Academia

A Variety of Career Paths

Alumni of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law are at the forefront of protecting and advancing intellectual property rights. Our IP graduates include award winning private practitioners of patent, trademark, and copyright law, chief patent counsel of Fortune 500 companies, and IP litigators and counselors throughout Indiana and the nation. These IP practitioners enable the creation of new enterprises, represent major established corporations, and even advance the law of intellectual property into new areas.