Intellectual Property

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PAR 227

       Course Name: Intellectual Property

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

PAR 101 and PAR 110, both with minimum grade of C. Recommended: PAR 113 and PAR 210 or consent of program coordinator.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course covers an historical study of the development of intellectual property law in the United States. Content includes the role of the paralegal in preparing applications for patent, copyright, and trademark protections with federal and state governments. Course provides an overview of the role of the paralegal in preparing for litigation involving intellectual property law issues, and reviews ethical issues that arise in the intellectual property arena.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. demonstrate an understanding of copyrights, patents, protective marks, and trade secrets.
  2. show an understanding of the history of intellectual property law in the United States.
  3. explain the role of a paralegal in obtaining copyright, patent and protective mark protection.
  4. explain the role of a paralegal in litigation involving copyrights, patents, protective marks, and trade secrets.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Introduction
    1. Historical Review of Intellectual Property in the United States
    2. Overview of the Function of Intellectual Property
    3. Review of Terms that Pertain to Intellectual Property
  2. Copyrights
    1. Purpose of Copyrights
    2. "Fixed in A Durable Medium"
      1. Literary Works
      2. Musical Works
      3. Dramatic Works
      4. Choreographic Works
      5. Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
      6. Films and audiovisual works
      7. Sound recordings
      8. Software
    3. Common Law Copyright Protection
    4. Obtaining Copyright Protection Today
    5. Litigation Involving Copyrights
    6. In the Public Domain
    7. Trademarks
    8. Trade Dress
    9. Service Marks
    10. Certification Marks
    11. Collective Marks
  3. Protective Marks
    1. Trade Names
  4. Trade Secrets
  5. Patents
    1. What is a Trade Secret?
    2. Ownership of Trade Secrets
    3. Protecting Trade Secrets
    4. Litigation Involving Trade Secrets
    5. Defining Patents
      1. Non-obvious
      2. Novel
      3. Useful
      4. Tangible expression of an idea
    6. Types of Patents
      1. Design Patents
      2. Utility Patents
      3. Plant Patents
    7. Common Law Patent Protection
    8. Applying for Patent Protection
    9. Litigation Involving Patents
  6. International Intellectual Property Protections
  7. Ethical Concerns Regarding Intellectual Property

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Lecture
  2. Discussion

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Reading Assignments
  2. Writing Assignments

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Stim, Richard, Intellectual Property ‑ Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights, Delmar Publishers Inc., 1994.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Midterm and final examinations.
  2. Homework assignments.
  3. Study problems in intellectual property.
  4. Attendance and participation.

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.