Hosted by: Sloan School of Management

Instructor: Jeffrey A. Meldman, Senior Lecturer

  • Enrollment: Unlimited. No advance sign-up
  • Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions

Intensive introduction to the basic provisions of US patent law, emphasizing the requirements for patentability and the process of applying for a patent. Designed for students in all MIT departments.

Topics include:

  • Requirements for a patentable invention: utility, novelty and non-obviousness
  • Eligible categories of  invention (software? business methods? human genes?)
  • Applying for a patent, including patent searches and the language of patent claims
  • New US law of inventor priority (first to invent? first to file? first to disclose, or what?)
  • Infringement, defenses and remedies
  • Patents  in comparison with copyrights, trade secrets and trademarks.

Meets with 15.620, which offers 3 units of G credit. (Students who wish to receive credit should register for 15.620 and plan to take a comprehensive quiz in the final class meeting on January 31.)

Reading materials include key sections of the U.S. patent statute (Title 35, US Code) and related judicial decisions. All readings and lecture slides will be posted on the 15.620 Stellar website. No textbooks or course packs. For the benefit of non-credit participants, the MIT community will have access to the 15.620 website throughout IAP.


January 17–29, 2018
Meets Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
2:00–4:00 pm

MIT Room E51-151

Course Schedule:

  • Patents and Intellectual Property | January 17
    • Overview of US patent law and of intellectual property more generally. Critical differences among patents, copyrights, trade secrets and trademarks.
  • Patentability | January 19
    • Requirements for a patentable invention: utility, novelty and non-obviousness. New US law regarding inventory priority.
  • Eligible Catergories of Invention | January 22
    • Eligible subject matter. Can software be patented? Business methods? Human genes? Rights of patent ownership.
  • Obtaining a Patent | January 24
    • The process of applying for a patent. Contents of the patent application, especially the specification. The role of the patent search. Demonstration of on-line search tools available to MIT students.
  • Patent Claims and Patent Licenses | January 26
    • Patent claims as property boundaries. The scope, language, and structure of patent claims.  Patent licenses and the MIT Technology Licensing Office.
  • Infingement, Defenses, and Remedies | January 29
    • Literal infringement and the doctrine of equivalents. Patent invalidity and other defenses. Legal and equitable remedies. Anatomy of a recent patent infringement case. ALSO–  Introduction to the BU Entrepreneurship and Intellectual Property Law Clinic at MIT.

Contact: Jeffrey Meldman, E62-317, 617 253-4932