Part I of this course examines patent law in general. Each of the 7 modules contains (a) a recorded lecture (roughly 90 minutes in length) that describes a major dimension of the patent system and (b) a set of readings that juxtapose the ways in which an important issue within that dimension is currently addressed in several jurisdictions.

Part II considers how patent law (and other aspects of the legal system) might be leveraged or modified in order to mitigate the ongoing global health crisis. The first of its five modules considers the causes and roots of that crisis. The remaining four modules examine a variety of ways in which we might mitigate it — and reduce the probability of future crises.

Course Introduction

Introductory lecture (Fisher) (12 minutes) (vimeo version) (mp4 version)

Part I: Patent Law

Module 101: An Overview of the Patent System

Module 102: Eligibility

Module 103: Utility and Disclosure

Module 104: Newness

Module 105: Claims

Module 106: Infringement

Module 107: Remedies

Part II: Responding to the Global Health Crisis

Module 201: The Global Health Crisis

Module 202: Improving Pharmaceutical Markets

Module 203: Improving Intellectual Property

Module 204: Alternative Incentive Systems

Module 205: Looking Forward

Final Examination

  • The final examination in the Harvard/WIPO version of this course is available HERE.
  • Answers must be submitted by 0900 UTC on Tuesday, April 25, 2023. (The amount of time required to answer the exam questions well is far less than five days; the five-day window is designed to afford students flexibility in finding time to take that test.)
  • Late Submissions:  Examinations submitted after 0900 UTC on April 25 will be accepted only if timely submission was prevented by illness (documented by a medical professional) or serious extenuating circumstances.  Determination of whether a particular examination meets these criteria will be made by the PatentX Advisory Board.
  • Academic Honesty: In any work for PatentX, including the final examination, students must attribute the ideas of others properly, so as to avoid plagiarism. When a student directly copies the words of another, those words must be enclosed in quotation marks. Such quotations must be attributed to their original author. When a student paraphrases the words of another, quotation marks are not appropriate. However, the student must still attribute the ideas to their original author. Students are not required to use a particular style of citation. Students seeking additional guidance about proper attribution may wish to consult the Harvard Guide to Using Sources. Failure to quote and attribute the ideas of others properly, as described above, will result in a failing grade on the work in question as well as a failing grade in the course. Failure to abide by the instructions for an examination will also result in a failing grade both on the exam and in the course as a whole.
  • Uses of Artificial Intelligence: Students are not permitted to use artificial intelligence/machine learning software (e.g., ChatGPT) to perform, in whole or part (including initial drafts), any work assigned in this course or any part of the course’s final examination.
  • Grading:  Each examination will be graded, using a numerical scale, by a WIPO trainer who did not teach the group in which the student was enrolled.  The student’s trainer will then have an opportunity to adjust the grade (upward but not downward) if, in the trainer’s judgment, the quality of the student’s participation in the seminar manifested greater command of the material than indicated by the exam grade.  Examinations near the borderline between Pass and Fail will be reviewed by Professor Fisher, whose evaluation will be final.
  • Certificates:  All students who pass the final examination and who participated in 10 of the 12 weekly seminars of their groups will receive a certificate from WIPO and Harvard Law School.
  • Timing:  Students will be notified of their final course grades no later than 1200 UTC on May 24.  Certificates will be distributed shortly thereafter.
  • Questions:  During the first 30 minutes of Prof. Fisher’s office hours on April 12, he will answer questions concerning the format of the examination.  The questions and answers will be recorded, enabling students who cannot attend to obtain the benefit of the exchanges.  To avoid unfairness, Prof. Fisher will not answer questions concerning the exam in any other context.


A list of the students in the First Edition of the WIPO/Harvard course who both satisfied the participation requirement and passed the final examination will be posted HERE at 1200 UTC on May 24, 2023.

Review Materials

Students may find the following materials useful when preparing for the final examination: