Duke Law School has made Intellectual Property a major priority. Since 2000, Duke has hired four new faculty members, designed innovative courses, created new centers and programs, hosted significant conferences and lectures, and set up an Internet journal.
Duke has made a deliberate decision not to specialize in only a few areas of intellectual property law - such as high tech patents. Instead, the program stresses the links between intellectual property subject areas, while providing tightly focused classes on particular specialties. This approach allows students either to aim at a generalist education in intellectual property law and policy, or to concentrate on a specific area, such as biotech patents, or media and entertainment law.
The second defining quality of Duke's approach to intellectual property is that it goes beyond the merely technical or technocratic. In an information society, intellectual property law presents fundamental questions of politics and policy; what is the correct balance between the public domain and intellectual property, or between intellectual property rights and free speech? Gene patents, Napster-like peer-to-peer file sharing, fair use and parody, the role of private investment in scientific research and innovation - such issues present complex questions of morality, economic effect, constitutionality and competitiveness. Both in class, and through a variety of scholarly, practical and law reform activities, Duke Law School's Intellectual Property Program explores these policy questions, engaging in public service and helping to prepare its graduates to shape the ground rules of the information society, whether as lawyers, entrepreneurs, policy-makers or citizens.