MSU College of Law

Course Descriptions

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Partnership Taxation (2)
519
Concentration(s): Tax
(Formerly DCL 316)
Through the use of the problem-solving method, this course will focus on the tax issues associated with the formation, operation, termination and liquidation of partnerships, as well as the sale of partnership interests, related party transactions and classification problems.

EITHER Basic Income Tax A OR Basic Income Tax B, along with EITHER Business Enterprises OR Agency and Partnership, fulfills the prerequesite. Recommended but not required: Business Income Taxation or Corporate Income Taxation
Prerequisite(s): Basic Income Taxation A, Basic Income Taxation B

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Patent Application Preparation (2)
533J
(Formerly DCL 556)
This course provides a structure and methodology for preparing a universal patent application suitable for filing in patent offices throughout the world. The course provides: 1) application drafting tools for implementing the requirements of Sections 102, 103 and 112 of Title 35, USC; 2) procedures in drafting the application to avoid issues raised in many litigated patents; 3) steps to be taken before actually drafting the application including inventor interview and searching; and 4) actual drafting of a patent application. An engineering or equivalent degree is recommended, i.e., the technical background required to take the patent agents examination to practice before the US Patent Office. PREREQUISITES OR TAKEN CONCURRENTLY: Intellectual Property Law OR Patent Law OR approval of faculty program chair.
Prerequisite(s): Intellectual Property Law, Patent Law

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Patent Law (3)
533K
(Formerly DCL 564)
This course provides a general introduction to patent law, introducing students to the basic legal rules and policies that constitute this important field of intellectual property law. Subjects covered include claim interpretation and patentable subject matter. Students will then spend the majority of the course studying the specific requirements for a valid patent, including the utility, written description, enablement, novelty, and non-obviousness requirements. Patent litigation topics such as infringement, defenses and damages will be covered as time permits. The course will focus on the new America Invents Act (AIA) but will also incorporate older rules as many currently existing patents will be analyzed under pre-AIA standards for the foreseeable future. Although patent cases often involve complicated scientific discoveries or technologies, the essential legal principles or policies rarely depend on understanding the underlying science or technology. Accordingly, students with non-technical backgrounds are encouraged to take this course, particularly given that intellectual property assets, such as patents, are increasingly important to commercial clients the world over.

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Patent Litigation (2)
533R
This course shall consider strategies and procedures pertaining to patent litigation in the U.S. federal courts. Details of the Patent Act and case law shall be analyzed with regard to discovery, motion practice, trial practice, infringement, invalidity and remedies. No technical degree is required. It is recommended students complete Civil Procedure I and II and Patent Law before enrolling in this course.

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Payment Systems (3)
501G
This course examines negotiable instruments under Article 3, bank deposits and collections pursuant to Article 4, funds transfers under Article 4A, and letters of credit under Article 5 of the UCC. The course also will cover various federal regulations, including those providing rules on check clearing, electronic fund transfers, and improper credit card use. Students who have taken commercial Transactions (LAW 501C) may be ineligible to take this course, so approval from the professor must be obtained to enroll.
Prerequisite(s): Contracts, Contracts I, Contracts II

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Perspectives on Law for King Scholars (1)
626A
(Formerly DCL 602)
This course is a one credit course open only to first year King Scholars. It will be taught in the second semester, when first year students have one less credit than the first, and is an attempt to add first year content of the King Scholars Program. The course will consist of one hour per week sessions in a book discussion format. The books assigned will provide perspectives on the law not regularly provided in the curriculum. For example, for Spring 2005 the book of Carl Bogus's "Why Lawsuits are Good for America" will be used. Books will change from year to year.

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Political Systems and Human Rights in Central and Eastern Europe (1)
545J
This course will focus on the political systems and human rights in selected countries of Central and Eastern Europe having political systems far from democracy. Students will be introduced to the specifics of the political systems of chosen states. Selected comparative issues concerning human rights and their protection will also be introduced.

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Problem-solving Approaches to Conflict Resolution (2)
505C
(Formerly DCL 553)
(Formerly ADR Survey)
This interactive course will cover the following topics: critical perspectives of ADR, negotiations (strategies, positioning for influence, and truthfulness), mediation (structuring enforceable agreements to mediate, confidentiality, mediator liability, and professional responsibility issues in mediation), third party evaluation and fact-finding, settlement perspectives, including the use of class actions, arbitration (preemption, enforceability of agreements to arbitrate, defenses to arbitration, due process, remedies and judicial review, judicial immunity), and alternative dispute resolution in state and federal courts. Teaching modalities will include lecture, simulations, video and exercises, along with selected book readings. 
Prerequisite(s): Civil Procedure I

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Products Liability (2)
522
(Formerly DCL 514)
This course will focus on the fundamentals of product liability law practical skills. It examines cutting edge issues that product liability trial lawyers deal with every day in litigation including automotive, pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer products, and toxic tort cases, with an emphasis on automotive design defect litigation that forms a major part of the law. Real-life, current major cases in litigation will be used so that students will be exposed to how product liability litigation is managed. Students will analyze federal legislation and recent case law, including U.S. Supreme Court decisions, learn about regulatory agencies such as NHTSA, FDA and the CPSC, and consider how regulatory agency rules and regulations have a substantial impact on product development and litigation. Students will develop expertise in important topics including expert witness testimony; complex demonstrative exhibits like accident reconstruction, biomechanics, and crash testing; federal preemption; and punitive damages. The course will also cover what companies must do to promote product safety and avoid potential civil and criminal liability. This course provides the perspective of a professor experienced in international product liability law who managed high-exposure litigation and advised clients about liability prevention during product development. The course will equip students with the skills needed to prosecute or defend product liability litigation and also to counsel manufactures to avoid help litigation. The class uses an interactive discussion and is highlighted by distinguished guest speakers and the use of high-technology classroom capabilities, including video-conferences with actual expert witnesses.

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Professional Responsibility (3)
500Q
(Formerly DCL 260)
A course designed to acquaint the law student with many of the obligations owed by the lawyer, both individually and as a member of the legal profession, to the society in which he/she lives. In addition to a discussion of ethical problems involved in the practice of law, an overview of all phases of the profession will be undertaken, including disciplinary proceedings, the functions of Bar organizations and unauthorized practice. Students who have already taken Lawyer Regulation and Ethics in a Technology-Driven World may not take this course.

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Property (4)
500G
(Formerly DCL 113)
This is a survey course of the fundamentals of property law. Possessory interests of real and personal property including findings, bailments and adverse possession are discussed and analyzed. Topics also include future interests, concurrent ownership, lease holds, transfers of land and land use controls.

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Public International Law (3)
548N
Concentration(s): Int'l & Comparative Law
(Formerly DCL 341)
This course involves the study of the international legal system, sources and organizations. It also examines the relationship of individuals and states in international law and transnational legal and economic problems.

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Public Law Colloquium (2)
551C
The Public Law Colloquium offers students an opportunity to examine current issues in Constitutional, Administrative and Regulatory Law at an advanced level. The Colloquium will focus on a significant Public Law issue each week and may include guests working or writing in the area. The specific topics of inquiry will be chosen at the beginning of the semester with an eye to important cases working their way through the courts or before the Supreme Court this term, but generally they will include public law’s role in overseeing the actions of Congress, the President (the institution and the person), and administrative and regulatory agencies; how public law can create a more competitive arena for democratic politics; how administrative and regulatory agency design can improve political accountability, effectiveness, and policy coordination; the extent and limits of the President’s enforcement power as a means of implementing policy; and the role of private enforcement of public rights and public enforcement of private rights.

Students taking the class for 2 credits will be responsible for writing several short “reaction papers” to the readings or “concurring/dissenting opinions” to recent judicial decisions along with one in-class presentation. Students taking the class for 3 credits will also write and present an independent research paper that qualifies for ULWR credit.

Prerequisite(s): Constitutional Law I and The Regulatory State.

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[A-B, C-D, E-F, G-H, I-J, K-L, M-N, O-P, Q-R, S-T, U-V, W-X, Y-Z]
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