Credit for the MIPLC's seed idea is due to Professor Schricker, the former Director of the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law (now MPI for Innovation and Competition). From this seed idea grew the plan to establish an international top-quality LL.M. program to teach IP law to a diverse student body. The implementation of this plan was tackled by Professor Joseph Straus, one of Professor Schricker's successors as Director of the Max Planck Institute, and the Max Planck Society, especially its then-Secretary General Dr. Barbara Bludau.
With students from developing and developed countries, from practice and academia, from legal, technical and other educational backgrounds in mind, it was clear that the ensuing program would have to be as comprehensive as possible. Thus Dr. Bludau and Professor Straus set out to identify suitable partners with strong credentials in teaching intellectual property law, law in general, as well as economics and business.
They found the University of Augsburg; the Technische Universität München; and The George Washington University Law School (Washington, D.C.).
Following extended negotiations, the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC) was inaugurated at a Founding Ceremony on March 17, 2003. With the generous cooperation of the Bavarian Ministry for Science, Research and the Arts, the four partners were able to gain formal approval of the Master's Program "Intellectual Property and Competition Law" in record time. At the same time, we were busy recruiting faculty from all over the world, finalizing the administrative details of the program, and beginning to advertise for students.
By October 2003, we had been able to attract students from eight countries located on five continents. In August 2004, these 13 students of our first class graduated from MIPLC, with the University of Augsburg conferring the "Master of Laws" degree. Our first academic year – despite all teething problems of this ambitious new endeavour – had ended successfully. In the second academic year, our enrollment rose to 18 students from 13 countries. Additionally, the MIPLC LL.M. program was selected to contribute to the further education of seven ASEAN scholars, who joined the program for the winter term 2004/05 in the framework of the ECAP II program.
By 2008, we were able to enrol 30 new students for the first time and were in the midst of an accreditation process that has in the meantime been successfully concluded. The current class of 2013/14 holds 23 students from 15 nations in Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia.
The map below highlights, in yellow, the countries from which past and present MIPLC students have come:
We are indebted to numerous people for their critical contributions to this new venture. From the very beginning, the leaders of the four MIPLC partners showed their firm commitment to this unique cooperation, and handled complicated issues skillfully and flexibly.
Sincere thanks are due in particular to Professor Wolfgang A. Herrmann and Dr. Ludwig Kronthaler, President and (then) Kanzler of Technische Universität München; Professor Wilfried Bottke, the late President of the University of Augsburg; Professor Michael K. Young, then the Dean of The George Washington Law School (Washington, D.C.), and Professor Martin J. Adelman of GW Law.
All of these individuals were instrumental in helping set up the MIPLC as a strong multi-partner cooperation. Further thanks are due to Professor Thomas M.J. Möllers of the University of Augsburg and the late Dr. Manfred Scholz, a former member of our Board of Trustees, who together secured significant financing support from the Gesellschaft der Freunde der Universität Augsburg e.V.
Last but not least, Professor Josef Drexl, now the Chair of the MIPLC Managing Board, was instrumental in helping to draw up the Study and Examination Regulations to which all MIPLC students are subject.
Without their support, and without the friendly and helpful approach of the Bavarian Ministry for Science, Research and the Arts, we could never have started the LL.M. program in the fall of 2003, a mere six months after the Center had been created.
And of course, without our more than 65 faculty members, we would not have been able to create such a diverse and multifaceted program. Not least because of their continuous commitment to the MIPLC program, their dedicated lectures guarantee the quality of education the MIPLC offers.
Also, we thank our academic tutors, who, by conducting the one-to-one tutorial sessions with their students, make an important contribution to the quality of our LL.M. program.
On this basis we are looking forward to the development of the current and future academic years and strive to continuously improve the quality of our program by even more increasing the interconnectedness of the courses, by adapting the courses to the needs of the students, and, not the least, by offering new courses.