Course Description

All engineers should be particularly concerned with patent law. This constitutionally-based discipline has to do with the process by which an invention, and its creator, are protected by the law from infringement and unfair competition. The class will deal with patent applications, research and prosecution; the law of infringement, and computer applications of software (protected by copyright) and hardware (by patents). We will also state what other concepts are patented, as well as machines, processes, mixtures, manufacturing, compositions of materials and methods of doing business and research.

Although we are mostly concerned with patent law, we also deal with copyright, trademark, trade dress, trade secrets and business methods. The engineer must be at least conversant with the other forms of intellectual property. In a relatively short time, we will give you a survey of the rights of creative and ingenious people and provide you with the information to protect yourself and your ideas in Intellectual Property matters. Coursework in Intellectual Property is equivalent to 45 clock hours of study.

Participants will be expected to spend an average of 8 hours per week reading and completing writing assignments. Please note that, barring extenuating circumstances, extensions will not be granted for this online course. 70% is the minimum passing score on all tests and assignments for this course. Students may consider working ahead in the curriculum if they have the time.

Attend and You Will Receive

Successful graduates of this non-credit course will be awarded a Certificate of Completion from NC State University.

Attend and You Will Learn / Expected Outcome

Attend and You Will Learn

At the end of this program, the participants will be able to:

  • Implement the initial necessary steps to protect their invention/idea.
  • Understand and differentiate the various types of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) including Patents (utility, plant, and design), Copyrights, Trade Marks, Trade Dress and Trade Secrets.
  • Explain the business value and importance of the relationship between innovation, Intellectual Property and business development.
  • Determine what is and is not patentable and when a patent is not the best IP protection.
  • Locate and apply IP information.
  • Explain the patent process and the rights which come with a patent and right to use novel and prior art.
  • Determine content to include in a patent application and why.
  • Contact correct IP professionals at appropriate times in IP process.
  • Effectively communicate their ideas to an IP professional.
  • Display a basic understanding of disclosure and confidentiality agreements including employment contracts, non-disclosure agreements and liability issues.


Notes / Additional Information


For each lesson you will submit a 50 point short answer/essay assignment covering the topics in that lesson’s reading.


You will complete two exams. Each is worth 100 points. The Midterm exam is to be submitted with your Lesson Three Assignments; the Final exam is to be submitted with your Lesson Six Assignments.

Bulletin Board Assignments:

You will also post your responses to six class participation assignments. These assignments are referred to as Bulletin Board Submissions and will be submitted by either selecting Bulletin Board Submission from within the lesson material, or by selecting ‘Forums’ under Activities on the right sidebar.

All lesson objectives and assignments can be found in the Lesson Materials.

Your grade will be based on your completion of six tests, two exams, and class participation/Bulletin Board Submissions. The exams and tests can be accessed from within the lesson material, or by selecting ‘Assignments’ under Activities on the right sidebar. You will have the opportunity to engage in “class participation” by using the Bulletin Board tool to respond to the bulletin board assignments throughout the course. Also, participating in the bulletin board assignments will enhance your understanding of the reading material.

Your final grade will be figured as follows:

  • The six tests are worth 50 points each and comprise 60% of your grade.
  • The two exams are worth 100 points and comprise 30% of your grade.
  • Your participation in class participation assignments comprises 10% of your grade.

Course Books

Required textbooks for this course:

Fundamentals of Patenting and Licensing for Scientists and Engineers, 2nd Edition, by Matthew Y. Ma. Order Online Now
For more information, call The Center for Legal Studies at 888-407-5138, or visit our Online Store to order.

Highly Recommended Legal Resources:

  • Oran’s Dictionary of the Law, 4th Edition, by Daniel Oran. Clifton Park: Delmar Cengage Learning
  • WESTLAW, online legal research access, available for the duration of the course for only $89.00. Order online

Please call 1-800-522-7737 for more information. Order online

To view all online courses, click here.


Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in

Section Title
Intellectual Property Law for Engineers Certificate
Aug 24, 2020 to Oct 09, 2020
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Registration fee non-credit $1,117.00