Law School Students Work with Calif. Small Businesses to Help Them Reach Out to Overseas Markets

Article ID: 596487

Released: 26-Nov-2012 3:00 PM EST

Source Newsroom: Academy Communications

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  • Professor Andrea Johnson, CWSL

Newswise — As part of their community outreach helping local small businesses expand overseas, a group of students at California Western School of Law learned that many businesses don’t understand many of the trade regulations they must adhere to, or the processes they must go through, in order to legally export and import products to and from foreign markets.

“There is so much information out there that sometimes people are overwhelmed by it and don’t know what steps they need to take in order to send their products to markets outside the United States,” says Professor Andrea Johnson, director of California Western’s Intellectual Property, Technology & Telecommunications Program.

The result is a new initiative—a series of clinics, workshops, guides and resources developed by the students to help business owners, providing opportunities for students to gain an understanding of evolving U.S. import-export laws while effectively addressing real-world challenges facing local San Diego-area small business owners.

One of the first steps: A team of students gathered information over the summer about the major “pain points” local businesses face in their efforts to increase their exports and imports. The students worked closely with Professor Johnson and other law school faculty to review their findings and present them to business owners through clinics and workshops that walk businesses through a guide, containing the key steps they must take to legally export products to foreign markets. The workshops, launched this fall, also shed light on crucial problems many U.S. businesses face trademarking their products overseas, with help and input from representatives of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

As part of the project’s IP and Transactional Clinical Program, California Western School of Law students have the opportunity to practice trademark law through the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) new Trademark Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program. The program allows California Western students to develop real-world experience in the mechanics of trademark law—including drafting and filing trademark applications—and provides pro bono legal services to local individuals and small businesses interested in growing their businesses.

“By expanding education about trademarks and the trademark process, we help ensure that American businesses and entrepreneurs have the resources they need to grow, create jobs and compete globally,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David J. Kappos.

Additionally, California Western will partner with other Consortium for Innovative Legal Education (CILE) schools participating in the program to create a central database of information to share knowledge and resources in order to provide clients with comprehensive information about how best to grow their business. The law school’s New Media Rights program will provide assistance to technology and media entrepreneurs facing unique challenges related to internet and copyright issues.


Professor Andrea Johnson,

Center for IP, Technology & Telecommunications Law

Trademark Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program

Consortium for Innovative Legal Education (CILE)

New Media Rights program



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