769 Design Law

The law regulates the design of almost all of the artefacts that we experience. It establishes intellectual property rights that incentivize the creation of new design and that restrict the ability of other designs from being made. And a host of other legal fields regulate the shape, efficiency, safety, and accessibility of virtually everything around us. Sometimes these different laws work together; while at other times they work at cross purposes. This seminar will explore the various ways in which law regulates design. We will begin with examinations of the intellectual property doctrines that do so, including design and utility patents, copyright, and trade dress. Then we will consider other areas of the law that influence design, including, possibly, tort law, disability law, environmental law, administrative law, and tax law. We will read traditional legal doctrinal materials, including cases, statues, and regulations. And we will also read contemporary scholarship in law, design, and business. Ideally, the course will also include presentations by designers and attorneys in order to give students a richer understanding of the field.

Methods of evaluation:  class participation, and either 30-page SRWP or six 4-5-page papers >

Enrollment Pre-/Co- Requisite Information

Students should have completed one or more of the following courses prior to enrolling in Design Law: Introduction to Intellectual Property, Copyright, Patent, or Trademark. Students who have not taken one of these classes but are concurrently enrolled in one may be admitted with the professor’s permission.

Course Areas of Practice
Evaluation Methods
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 5-10 pages
Degree Requirements
Course Type
  • Seminar
Learning Outcomes
  • Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law
  • Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context

Spring 2023

2023
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

769.01 2
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 5-10 pages
Chris Buccafusco W 8:55 AM - 10:45 AM 4172

The law regulates the design of almost all of the artefacts that we experience. It establishes intellectual property rights that incentivize the creation of new design and that restrict the ability of other designs from being made. And a host of other legal fields regulate the shape, efficiency, safety, and accessibility of virtually everything around us. Sometimes these different laws work together; while at other times they work at cross purposes. This seminar will explore the various ways in which law regulates design. We will begin with examinations of the intellectual property doctrines that do so, including design and utility patents, copyright, and trade dress. Then we will consider other areas of the law that influence design, including, possibly, tort law, disability law, environmental law, administrative law, and tax law. We will read traditional legal doctrinal materials, including cases, statues, and regulations. And we will also read contemporary scholarship in law, design, and business. Ideally, the course will also include presentations by designers and attorneys in order to give students a richer understanding of the field.

Methods of evaluation:  class participation, and either 30-page SRWP or six 4-5-page papers >

Pre/Co-requisites

Students should have completed one or more of the following courses prior to enrolling in Design Law: Introduction to Intellectual Property, Copyright, Patent, or Trademark. Students who have not taken one of these classes but are concurrently enrolled in one may be admitted with the professor’s permission.

*Please note that this information is for planning purposes only, and should not be relied upon for the schedule for a given semester. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.