Tulane’s intersession legal boot camps have a new-ish kid on the block: a whole new track on trademark law.
The long-running legal boot camps – running for more than a decade – have long had programs for students to spend an intense week of training in criminal litigation, civil litigation, and transactional work. But now the Tulane Intersession program has a new feature: a trademark prosecution program.
A year ago, the trademark boot camp's pilot year received rave reviews from students. That is likely due to the fact that that everyone has a general knowledge of trademarks as a consumer, so the assignments feel practical in nature, rather than highly technical, said Professor Joel Feldman, who is the designer and director of Tulane's program.
“Nearly every lawyer, whether a transactional or litigation generalist or an intellectual property specialist will encounter trademark law at some point in their career,” said Feldman, “and it touches every industry. That’s why an experiential trademark law course made sense to me to offer.”
Feldman should know about the importance of trademarks to a wide variety of businesses. He is Co-chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Global Trademark and Brand Management Group, where he has been an attorney in the firm’s Atlanta office for nearly 18 years.
The Tulane program is focused on Trademark prosecution, said alumna Amy Parigi (NC '96, L ‘01) who this year co-taught the course with Feldman. “It is really focused on the practical application of trademark law – and on learning why you are applying certain legal concepts.”
Parigi, a partner at Verso Law Group in San Francisco, advises clients in all areas of brand protection. She previously served as the first General Counsel for the fashion brand TOM FORD and as General Counsel for the U.S. subsidiary of DHC, a global cosmetic and health food supplement brand. For much of her career, Parigi has forcused on corporate and commercial transactions involving significant IP matters.
Feldman, whose practice focuses on trademark clearance, prosecution, enforcement, and licensing, developed the curriculum for the trademark prosecution boot camp several years ago based on skills he wished his young associates had learned in law school and approached Tulane about incorporating trademark prosecution into its experiential learning curriculum. his year there were 11 students in the course, which Feldman said was the perfect number based on the boot camp’s format.
The structure of the course walks students through the entire trademark application process – from clearing a trademark to filing a trademark application to responding to an office action and an opposition, with each step emphasizing the importance of communication with the fictional client. Each student is assigned their own trademark with its own issues and Feldman “individualizes each student’s experience,” said Parigi. “It’s incredible how detailed he is.”
Intense it may be, but the one-week course has also become a favorite for students.
“The trademark prosecution class was my favorite class I’ve taken at Tulane Law,” said 2L student Marie Gosserand. “Professor Feldman did a great job simulating the process of filing and defending a trademark – we even got a registration certificate for our marks on the last day. I appreciated the thought and effort he put into planning the course for us.”
"The Trademark Prosecution Boot Camp program was an enriching experience that provided a comprehensive understanding of trademark prosecution," said 3L Kaitlin Tang. "The week-long program simulated real-world trademark practice within the confines of a law school classroom, which was a unique and invaluable experience. Between being guided by a practicing attorney and having a multitude of industry professionals speak with the class every day, it was truly an inspiring week."
Sydney Williams, a 3L in sports law, said she found the course applicable to her studies.
“The Trademark Prosecution Bootcamp was one of the best experiences I’ve had thus far at Tulane Law," said Williams. "Professor Feldman designs the course so that you can maximize the week-long course. From drafting trademark applications with the USPTO and learning the best practices for client communications, to hearing from Trademark practitioners for the world’s leading brands offered an enriching opportunity that many law students dream of.”
Even as students love the program, so does Feldman, for several reasons.
"The students are engaged and interested, their effort and work product is great, and they will be my professional colleagues at some of the country’s pre-eminent law firms and in-house legal departments in no time,” he said. “The administration has been so helpful and welcoming and has made Tulane Law feel like home,” he added.
Feldman also enjoys collaborating with the law school’s full-time intellectual property professors, even guest lecturing during the fall semester’s IP Survey course.
“And for me, I really love teaching and giving back,” Feldman said.