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Caleb Bean, JD'14

Exploring the law behind innovation and creativity

“I majored in electrical engineering at Purdue, and while doing research for a professor got involved with examining patents. I’d always been interested in the law, and it turned out that patents became the bridge between engineering and law.”

— Caleb Bean, JD’14

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Caleb Bean, JD’14, takes full advantage of the Center for Intellectual Property's resources as he prepares for a career as a patent lawyer. “I majored in electrical engineering at Purdue, and while doing research for a professor got involved with examining patents. I’d always been interested in the law, and it turned out that patents became the bridge between engineering and law.”

Bean is president of Maurer's Intellectual Property Association, one of the school's largest student organizations, with more than 75 members. The IPA helps organize the Center's conferences, including one on the America Invents Act featuring Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos, and a visit from Chief Judge Randall Rader of the Federal Circuit. “Helping with these events sharpened my organizational skills and provided me with some great networking opportunities,” Bean said. He added that IPA members are eligible to participate in mock interviews and resume reviews with IP practitioners and, through small group sessions, can connect with practitioners-in-residence who visit the Center to discuss their areas of practice. Practitioners-in-residence have included Donald E. Knebel, a distinguished IP partner at Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis, and Gregory A. Castanias, JD’90, who heads the Federal Circuit practice at Jones Day in Washington, DC. Knebel and Castanias are also members of Indiana Law’s adjunct faculty.

The Center usually employs about a half dozen research assistants to help faculty complete a variety of in-depth projects. “I worked on the editing of the fourth edition of Professor Janis’s casebook, Trademarks and Unfair Competition: Law and Policy,” Bean said. “It has been an intense project, but it’s helped prepare me for practice settings where I will be working with partners.” The Center also offers mentoring opportunities for IPA members, both with upper-class students and with practitioners.

The Center for Intellectual Property Research was established in 2011 to coordinate the law school’s intellectual property law curriculum, research, and outreach. Guided by the Center’s curriculum development, students can choose from nearly two dozen courses ranging from the basics of patent, trademark, and copyright law to colloquia and seminars on cutting-edge topics. Students can also earn joint degrees with Indiana University’s diverse offerings in biotechnology and other sciences.

The CIPR deals with the legal mechanisms that are designed to promote innovation and creativity in virtually every sector of the economy. “Intellectual property law is no longer a niche area,” said Mark D. Janis, JD’89, Robert A. Lucas Chair of Law and director of the Center for Intellectual Property Research. “Go to any small town anywhere in Indiana, and you might find a local business owner dealing with a trademark issue, or an artist or a non-profit group needing advice about copyrights, or a technology start-up building its patent portfolio in order to secure venture funding to support further research. We need lawyers who are trained to deal with those issues, whether they practice in Indiana or take their expertise elsewhere.”

The Center’s online journal, IP Theory, combines the academic rigor of a law review with the immediacy of a legal blog. “IP Theory is designed for the way scholars and practitioners prefer to receive information in today’s electronic age,” Janis explained. “The articles are peer-reviewed and are more ambitious than typical blog entries. However, the editing is streamlined, which leads to a faster publication schedule.”

Click here to watch a video about the IP curriculum.