This chapter proceeds on the assumption that the ultimate goal of intellectual property law teaching – and legal education generally – is not simply to impart knowledge of the law, but rather to inculcate in students the necessary analytical skills to apply the law to new factual situations. Thus, one of the most important, and challenging, tasks for the intellectual property law teacher is helping law students develop the ability to identify emerging legal issues and predict future legal developments in intellectual property law and policy.
The challenge has become particularly daunting for intellectual property law teachers because of the increasingly dynamic nature of the subject matter. This dynamism is the product of rapid global developments in three overlapping fields: international law, technology, and commerce.
Until 1994, for example, the field of international intellectual property law was largely governed, as it had been for the past century, by the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (“Paris Convention”) and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (“Berne Convention”). The modest goals of these two conventions were (1) to ensure that foreign nationals were provided “national [i.e. non-discriminatory] treatment” with respect to whatever intellectual property protection a member chose to grant its own nationals; (2) to establish an international priority system for industry property; and (3) to establish some initially modest international minimum standards for the prevention of unfair competition and the protection of literary and artistic works.