The MIPLC LL.M. program is a one-year, full-time degree program commencing in October each year. Typically, the program accepts a maximum of 38 students, usually from more than 20 different countries across the world. MIPLC seeks to attract candidates from a diversity of backgrounds, and in the past, we have seen the program growing in popularity among lawyers, judges, management graduates, government officials and most significantly, among scientists with bachelors, masters, or doctoral degrees in a variety of specialized areas such as biotechnology, chemistry, pharmacology and electronics.
Accordingly, the program curriculum is geared to impart broad and comprehensive knowledge of various specialized fields of intellectual property and competition law through a number of courses (see description under Introductory and Basic Modules below). At the same time, the curriculum also offers a great deal of flexibility to the students through a wide and increasing variety of elective courses (see description under Elective Modules below).
In order to further help students gain hands on experience with research and guided self-study in fields of their special interest, a Master's Thesis Module has been made an integral part of the program. Completing this module under the supervision of one of our expert faculty members is a pre-requisite to obtaining the LL.M. degree at MIPLC.
Within the structured yet flexible curriculum, one of the most exciting aspects of the LL.M. program at MIPLC is its optional internship. Each student is given an opportunity to undergo an internship with a (patent) law firm, a corporation, or other IP institution. These internships are organized by the MIPLC keeping in mind each student's background and preferences.
The Academic Year
The academic year at MIPLC consists of two semesters of study which are concluded by the preparation of the Master's thesis. The program starts with a Welcome Day and it closes with a grand Graduation Ceremony during which diplomas are awarded and graduates celebrate their achievements with their classmates and families.
Courses and Modules
The courses offered at the MIPLC are split up into four types of modules:
- The Introductory Module: This is a preparatory, no-credit module. Participation is optional but strongly recommended to all students, a especially in classes that cover unfamiliar topics.
- The Basic Modules: There are four Basic Modules that are mandatory for all students and are completed by one exam per module. These modules cover the core areas of IP - patents, copyright, trademarks, and design - but also basic cross-cutting topics, such as European Law or Jursidiction and Conflict of Laws.
- The Elective Modules: 12 specialized Elective Modules allow students to focus their studies on subjects they are particularly interested in. Due to the students' varied interests, class size in the elective courses is usually small.
While the majority of the Elective Modules work on an exam-per-course basis, three modules are concluded by a single exam per module. This allows students to take into account their preferred studying and examination style when selecting their modules.
- The Master's Thesis Module: Completing a Master's thesis is a requirement for all students, as the thesis is a central component of the LL.M. program. Its preparation is an excellent opportunity to explore a particular topic in great depth and on a highly sophisticated level. Students start to work on their Master's thesis early on in the program. They may choose their topic freely to correspond to personal interests and career goals. Each student is assigned a thesis supervisor with whom they can discuss issues that come up in the course of their research. The final thesis, due about six weeks after the completion of the summer term, should run to about 55-75 pages.
Please view our detailed Module and Course List for information about modules, courses, and course content.
To graduate from the MIPLC, students must acquire 60 credit points (CP):
- 24 CP from the Basic Modules
- 18 CP from the Elective Modules
- 18 CP from the Master's Thesis Module.
After the submission of the Master's thesis, students may complete an optional internship, usually between mid-September (submission of the Master's thesis) and mid-November (graduation ceremony). The MIPLC has an extensive network of potential internship sponsors including (patent) law firms, corporations, IP institutions, and others. Moreover, the MIPLC is part of the Pan-European Seal Training Program by which a few MIPLC students every year are selected for one-year, paid traineeships at the European Patent Office (EPO) or at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The internship is an excellent opportunity to apply the newly gained knowledge to "real-life" IP and to meet potential employers.
Study Visits and Conferences
The class schedule is complemented by study visits to the European Patent Office (including an oral appeal hearing), the German Patent and Trade Mark Office, corporations such as BMW, and guest lectures held by renowned IP experts.
Throughout the year, selected students will have the opportunity to attend the annual conferences of the European Intellectual Property Institutes Network (EIPIN) [link] held in the hometowns of the participating institutions, i.e. Munich, Alicante, London, Maastricht, and Strasbourg. These conferences are a forum to actively contribute to joint research activities and to meet students from the other EIPIN member institutions.