NautiGirl mug and hat merchandise

Clinic students won a court victory for small-business client NautiGirl against the Nautica apparel company, who claimed NautiGirl's nautical merchandise infringed on the international clothing line's trademark.

Suffolk Law School’s Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship Clinic (IPEC) provides free legal services to appropriate clients with limited resources on issues relating to new and emerging businesses, with a focus on intellectual property (copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets).

Advanced law students provide a broad variety of intellectual property and transactional services. Representative clients include entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists, designers, software developers, Web publishers, cloud service providers, artists, authors, filmmakers, and musicians, who may be individuals, for-profit businesses, or nonprofits.

This innovative law clinic provides students with the hands-on, practical experience needed to navigate the rapidly evolving fields of intellectual property and entrepreneurship. With direct supervision, IPEC students hone the fundamental skills of counseling, advocacy, transactional practice, applying best practices, and establishing high ethical standards. At the same time, IPEC helps entrepreneurs and artists protect and commercialize their IP and other assets.

Services Offered

The following is a list of services we may be able to offer through the clinic. Actual availability of each service depends on clinic capacity and student attorney expertise at the time you apply to become a client. To apply to become a client of the clinic, please submit the online application available here.

Legal Services for Entrepreneurs and Business

Intellectual Property Audits
IP Strategy Protections
Choice of Entity and Business Formation
Corporate Governance
Policies and Documents for Internal Protections of IP Assets
Non-Disclosure and Non-Compete Agreements
Drafting & Negotiating License, Development, Marketing, and Distribution Agreements
Terms of Use and Privacy Policies
Trademark Screening Searches and Applications for Registration
Copyright Registrations
Trademark Cease and Desist Letters
Trademark Co-Existence Agreements
Trademark Representation in TTAB and federal and local courts
Authors' and Screenwriters' Agreements

Information for Students

Each year, eight law students in their last year of law school enroll in the Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship Clinic (IPEC) and work at least 15 hours per week on real client matters. Each student typically handles 6-10 cases throughout the year. The clinic director meets with each student individually once a week to talk about each client matter and provide one-on-one training. Students in the clinic also meet for a two-hour class every week to learn practical skills, review substantive law, discuss client matters, share best practices, and address related ethical issues.

IPEC students take primary responsibility for all client matters. In addition to responsibilities such as interviewing clients and legal research, students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in drafting transactional and litigation documents, interacting with the U.S. Copyright Office, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. With supervision, students may have the opportunity to counsel clients on strategies for identifying and safeguarding protectable assets, register copyrights and trademarks, negotiate licenses, draft key agreements, and prosecute and defend infringement claims, and trademark opposition and cancellation proceedings.

Just as with lawyers in the real world, clinic students are required to maintain case files for all cases and projects. Students learn how to organize and maintain both electronic and hard copy files, and to keep track of overlapping dockets and deadlines.

Clinic students learn how to apply substantive law in the complex and multi-disciplinary, real-world context. This practical experience and knowledge helps graduates to become true competitive assets in the legal market place. Student Applications for IPEC are available online from the Clinics’ homepage, http://www.suffolk.edu/law/academics/experiential-learning/6728.php , beginning in February of each academic year.

This is a full-year clinic offered for 10 credits (5 credits/semester) and students will receive separate letter grade at the end of the academic year for the clinic work and seminar.

Information for Clients

The Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship Clinic at Suffolk University Law School (IPEC) has represented a variety of clients in administrative proceedings before the TTAB and patent cases in federal court, as well as clients seeking to start new businesses, protect trade secrets, register copyrights and trademarks, and protect and commercialize their intellectual property.

Unfortunately, we can only represent a small percentage of the individuals and businesses who apply to IPEC for services. Whether we can take on your particular matter depends on several factors, including our conflict check process, the case-load capacity of the clinic at a given time, and the experiential opportunities that a matter would provide to IPEC students. We also consider whether the matter may serve an important public interest or have potential to positively impact the law.

IPEC cannot and will not give legal advice until we affirmatively agree to take on your case. If you have a question about basic legal information, please feel free to contact us, but we may not be able to answer all questions. Legal services are provided free of charge, except that clients pay for all costs associated with filing fees, online search services, and similar out-of-pocket-type fees.

If you are interested in seeking the clinic’s assistance, please complete and submit the online application here. Or, you may print and mail your completed form to the following address: Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship Clinic, Suffolk Law School, 120 Tremont Street, Suite 150, Boston, MA 02108.