Patent Law Program Gains Approval

Author: Kevin Zeise

A new graduate program designed to fill the need for registered patent agents will admit its first class this fall after gaining approval in late January. The one-year program, a Master of Science in Patent Law, will train students with a science or engineering background with the additional skills necessary to pass the Patent Bar exam.


Notre Dame’s newest graduate-level program, the MS in Patent Law program will be directed by Dr. Karen Deak, herself a geneticist and registered patent agent. The program serves as a collaborative effort between the College of Science, the College of Engineering and the Law School, with patent attorneys, agents and examiners from across the country presenting lectures in their various areas of expertise.

“We’re thrilled to announce Notre Dame’s new Master of Science in Patent Law,” Deak said. “As far as we’re aware, there’s no other program like it in the United States.”

“There is a great need for patent agents in our country,” said Greg Sterling, Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Notre Dame. “This will be a groundbreaking program to help meet that need. I trust that we will not only train successful patent agents, but also make a difference in the larger research enterprise of the University of Notre Dame and the knowledge-based economy of the United States.”

Training as a patent agent provides the ability to research, prepare and file patent applications with the United States Patent Office on behalf of a client. A patent agent is a specialized legal professional who holds the same qualifications as an attorney with regards to practicing at the United States Patent Office.

“Becoming a patent agent is often a difficult transition to make; until now, there hasn’t been a formal training program for patent agents, and we hope that Notre Dame’s Master of Science in Patent Law program will help to fill that gap,” Deak said. “The program combines classes with patent law with hands-on training the in the practical, day-to-day skills that a patent agent uses.”

The one-year program is now accepting applications for the first class of students to begin study in the Fall of 2012. For more information on the program, visit