UNH law school takes classroom on the road to Silicon Valley

IP law students learn firsthand from Apple, Google, Microsoft execs
Micky Minhas, a UNH Law grad, is now vice president and chief patent counsel for Microsoft.

The University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law in Concord recently held its first immersive classroom experience in Silicon Valley.

In a class taught by Micky Minhas, a UNH Law grad and now vice president and chief patent counsel for Microsoft, students last week learned about intellectual property issues directly from experts who work for such companies as Apple, Dolby Laboratories, Fox Entertainment, Google, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Samsung and Uber, among others. They discussed patent, trademark and copyright challenges their companies face as well as outcomes and solutions.

Minhas, who also serves as the Franklin Pierce Distinguished Professor of Practice at the law school, led 47 students through readings, coursework and live discussions involving intellectual property issues with smart phone, auto and tech companies, as well as the legal intricacies that arise through advancements in cloud and artificial technology.

“As an intellectual property practitioner, I explain these issues to students in every class I teach,” said Minhas “But bringing UNH Franklin Pierce students to the Microsoft campus to hear directly from experts from a number of different companies having different IP strategies gave students insights that I alone cannot provide. My students always have engaging questions, but it was clear to me during our Silicon Valley experience that the students walked away with an even deeper understanding of today’s most pressing issues.”

Megan Carpenter, dean of the law school, called the school “an intellectual property powerhouse” and as a result “we have a deep network of influential alumni and experts in the field, Bringing our classroom to Silicon Valley allowed our students the invaluable opportunity to hear directly from experts in the field and understand the unique challenges they face.”

She said that immersive experience “changes the way legal education is delivered. Long gone are days where a lone professor addresses a class. Now we’re bringing classrooms to industry, and facilitating a dialogue between students, practitioners and scholars.”

Advancements in technology have brought about a change in the legal industry, and law schools need to adapt to best prepare the next generation of legal scholars and practitioners, Carpenter said.

For instance, the school recently debuted the first hybrid juris doctor program in intellectual property, technology and information law, a program that allows students to advance their careers in IP while completing most of their coursework online.

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