Skip to Main Content

Writing Competitions for Law Students: Intellectual Property Law

Tip

Sponsors/facilitators of student writing competitions provide more detailed instructions and rules at their websites.  Students need to review the information and rules available at these websites.  

Intellectual Property Law

2024 Honorable Frederick E. McKelvey Writing Competition

  • Sponsor: American Association of Patent Judges (AAPJ)
  • Topic in 2024 Competition was: "Candidates shall submit essays concerning any subject relating to U.S. patent law."
  • Format requirements in 2024 Competition included: "The essays must be original works of scholarship, but candidates are welcome to submit essays prepared initially in the context of course work or other academic activities.  Submissions that the AAPJ determines to include content generated by artificial intelligence (AI) will not be considered for any award."  "In terms of suitability for publication in JPTOS, the winning essay must be, in the sole discretion of JPTOS, substantially not duplicative of recent or upcoming articles, as well as fit within JPTOS’s normal subject matter areas of publication.  Further, the winning essay must comply with JPTOS’s publication quality standards including, but not limited to, being an original work.  Terms and conditions of JPTOS’s article publication can be found at www.jptos.org."
  • Eligibility requirements in 2024 Competition included: "The McKelvey Competition is open to any student pursuing study in law, policy, management, or any related field, that impacts technology.  In order to be eligible, candidates must be enrolled in a graduate degree program for at least one term during the 2023-24 academic year."
  • Prizes in 2024 Competition were: "The first-place essay will be published in the Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society (JPTOS) (subject to editorial discretion and review, as explained below) and the author will receive an award and $1,000. The author of the runner-up essay will receive an award and $500."
  • Deadline for submission in 2024 Competition was: July 1, 2024.

Honorable William C. Conner Writing Competition (annual)

  • Sponsor: New York Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Topic in 2024 Competition was: "An entry must be directed to any of the following subject areas of intellectual property, i.e., patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and unfair trade practices, as well as antitrust and data security/privacy issues to the extent they relate to intellectual property."
  • Format in 2024 Competition was: "There is a twenty (20) page maximum limit for all entries, including footnotes, but excluding the cover page or table of contents."
  • Eligibility requirements in 2024 Competition included: "All entrants must be law school students currently enrolled in a J.D. or LL.M. program (day or evening) in an accredited law school in the United States with an expected graduation date after March 3, 2024."
  • Prizes in 2024 Competition were: "The winner will receive a cash award of $2,500.00 and a plaque at the NYIPLA Annual Meeting and Dinner to be held in New York City on May 8, 2024 at the Union League Club in New York City. The runner-up will receive a cash award of $1,500.00 and a plaque at the Annual Meeting and Dinner. The winning paper will be considered for publication by the NYIPLA. The winner and runner-up are invited and encouraged to attend the Annual Meeting and Dinner."  "All contestants who provide entries that meet the requirements and rules above and which exceed 15 pages (excluding any cover page and table of contents) will be provided a complimentary one-year student membership to the NYIPLA, commencing on May 1, 2024."
  • Deadline for submission in 2024 Competition was: March 3, 2024.

2024 George Hutchinson Writing Competition (annual)

  • Sponsor: Federal Circuit Bar Association
  • Topic in 2024 Competition was: "Papers must deal with a topic that lies within the substance, procedure, or scope of the specialized jurisdiction of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit."  See: United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit: Court Jurisdiction.  (This Court's jurisdiction includes these subject areas: patents and trademarks.) 
  • Format requirements in 2024 Competition included: "Papers are typically about 20-30 pages in length. Papers shall not exceed 50 pages, including footnotes."
  • Eligibility requirements in 2024 Competition included: "Students enrolled for the 2023/2024 school year in any law school accredited by the American Bar Association are eligible to enter.  Pre-registration is not necessary.  Submission of a paper in accordance with these rules constitutes registration."  "Submission of a paper grants the FCBA the right to consider publication of the paper in the Federal Circuit Bar Journal. Previously published submissions will not be accepted. The FCBA reserves the right to publish the paper first, at which point the author may proceed with publication elsewhere.  Failure of the student to preserve this grant may result in disqualification."
  • Prizes in 2024 Competition were: "A cash prize of at least three thousand dollars ($3,000.00) will be awarded for the entry deemed by the judges to be the best entry that merits the award.  Second and third place cash prizes may also be awarded at the judges' discretion.  Winners will be publicly announced at the FCBA’s November 2024 Annual Dinner in Washington, D.C. The prize-winning paper may be considered for publication in the Federal Circuit Bar Journal."
  • Deadlines for submission in 2024 Competition was: July 1, 2024.

Ladas Memorial Award Competition (annual) [trademark law]

  • Sponsor: International Trademark Association (INTA)
  • Topic: "[A] paper on trademark law or a matter that directly relates to or affects trademarks."
  • Eligibility requirements in 2023 Competition included: "Categories: Student: Eligible students must be enrolled as either full- or part-time law or graduate students.   For students outside of the United States, university enrollment is acceptable."
  • Prizes in the student category of the 2023 Competition (closed) were: "Two student winners will each receive U.S. $1,250 and a complimentary registration to the 2023 Annual Meeting....The winning papers will be considered for publication in The Trademark Reporter, INTA’s legal journal."
  • Deadline: "2024 Ladas Memorial Award: We’re currently finalizing the details for this year’s highly anticipated event...."  Feb. 23, 2024: Sent email request to join mailing list for notification about competition launch and important dates.

Law Student Intellectual Property Legal Research and Brief Writing Competition (Litigation Focused)

  • Sponsor: Brooks Kushman
  • Topic of, and Eligibility requirements in, 2024 Competition were: "A competition open to any law student interested in intellectual property litigation, in good standing and currently enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school, and who is a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States."
  • Format in 2024 Competition was: To declare an intent to participate, a prospective entrant needed to email their resume to BrooksCompetition@brookskushman.com by 11 PM Eastern, Thursday, February 15, 2024.  At 11 AM Eastern, Saturday, February 17, 2024, Brooks Kushman emailed information about the Competition tasks and instructions to the email address identified in the entrant’s resume.  Access to tools such as LexisNexis or Westlaw was necessary for a part of the Competition.  By 11 AM Eastern, Sunday, February 18, 2024, the entrant needed to email to BrooksCompetition@brookskushman.com documents containing the results of their legal research and their legal briefs.
  • Prize(s) in 2024 Competition were: Guidelines and Criteria for the Feb. 17, 2024 competition (closed) stated: "Law Student Winners: First Place: The first-place award is a $2,500 honorarium, and an interview with the Brooks Kushman hiring team.  Runner(s)-Up: Runners-up may be named at the discretion of Brooks Kushman and may be interviewed by the Brooks Kushman hiring team."
  • Deadline to declare an intent to participate in this competition was: February 15, 2024.

Law Student Patent Claims Drafting Competition (Patent Prosecution Focused)

  • Sponsor: Brooks Kushman
  • Topic of, and Eligibility requirements in, 2024 Competition were: "[A] claim drafting competition open to any law student in good standing and currently enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school, who is eligible to sit for (or has already passed) the Patent Bar, and is a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States."
  • Format in 2024 Competition was: To declare an intent to participate, a prospective entrant needed to email their resume to BrooksCompetition@brookskushman.com by 11 PM Eastern, Thursday, February 22nd, 2024.  At 11 AM Eastern, Saturday, February 24th, 2024, Brooks Kushman emailed information about a hypothetical invention, related prior art, and corresponding instructions to the email address identified in the entrant’s resume.  By 3:30 PM Eastern, Saturday, February 24th, 2024, the entrant needed to email to BrooksCompetition@brookskushman.com a pdf document containing their claim set drafted in accordance with the hypothetical invention, related prior art, and corresponding instructions.  (The competition lasted 4.5 hours.) 
  • Note: Brooks Kushman stated in the 2024 Guidelines and Criteria: "So that entrants having different technical backgrounds can all compete, the hypothetical invention and related prior art will represent relatively simple mechanical technology that should not require any specialized background to grasp."
  • Prize(s) in 2024 Competition were: "First Place: The first-place award is a $2,500 honorarium, and an interview with the Brooks Kushman hiring team.  Runner(s)-Up: Runners-up may be named at the discretion of Brooks Kushman and may be interviewed by the Brooks Kushman hiring team."
  • Deadline to declare an intent to participate in this competition was: February 22, 2024.

National Patent Application Drafting Competition (annual) + announcement: 2025 National Patent Application Drafting Competition

  • Sponsor: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
  • Topic: "The competition introduces students to issues arising in U.S. patent law and develops their patent application drafting skills."
  • 2025 National Patent Application Drafting Competition states: "The Competition provides participants an opportunity to develop patent prosecution skills by applying legal principles to a hypothetical invention scenario.  Each team will complete a search pertaining to the Invention Statement, draft a utility patent application, and defend their decisions before a panel of judges comprising United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) executives/personnel, patent practitioners, academicians, and/or special guest judges from the IP community.  Successful teams will demonstrate an ability to draft a patent specification and claims that are both patentable over the prior art and valuable, in terms of breadth of the claims and other considerations relating to post-issuance enforcement of the patent.  The Competition consists of five Regional Rounds to be held virtually in early 2025 and a National Finals Round to be held in-person at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.  Regional Rounds include up to 75 teams divided among five regions.  The winner from each region will be invited to compete in the National Finals before a panel of senior USPTO officials and other esteemed judges."
  • Note about 2024 Competition process stated: "[T]he team's coach must register individually and include the school's name.  Once they complete their registration, the team is assigned a specific team registration link that is emailed to the coach.  The team's coach must then provide that team's registration link to the student competitors in order to complete the registration for the entire team.  Each competitor and coach will have a unique login to the competition webpage." 
  • Format in 2024 Competition was: "The Competition is open to teams comprised of two to four law school students and one coach."  " A law school is normally represented by one team, defined as the first team to submit a complete application for registration."
  • Eligibility requirements in 2024 Competition included: "Students must be enrolled, on a full-time or part-time basis, at a law school, provided that:
    • a. the student has not been admitted or licensed to practice law in the United States;
      b. the student, if a registered patent practitioner (i.e., a patent agent), has a patent registration number issued on or after January 1, 2021;
      c. the student is enrolled at the institution during the 2023-2024 academic year; and
      d. the student is not currently an employee of the USPTO."
  • Tentative deadlines for 2025 Competition: Team Registration opens on September 2, 2024 and closes on October 12, 2024.  "There is no entry fee for the Competition."

Robert C. Watson Award (annual)

  • Sponsor: American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA)
  • Topic in 2024 was: "[Law] [s]tudents are encouraged to submit articles on a subject relating to the protection of intellectual property."
  • Format requirements in 2024 included: "Papers should be approximately the equivalent of 10 law review pages, including footnotes (30 - 40 pages typed copy)."
  • Eligibility requirements in 2024 stated: "To be eligible for consideration, the article must have been written solely by a student or students either in full-time attendance at a law school (day or evening) or prepared in connection with a law school course." "Judges consider the merit of the article as a contribution to the knowledge respecting intellectual property and the extent to which it displays original and creative thought or information not previously written or published by an author."
  • Prize in 2024 was: "The winner will receive reasonable expense reimbursement to attend the AIPLA Annual Meeting, October 24 – 26, 2024 in Washington DC, to receive their award."
  • Deadline for submission in 2024 was: June 30, 2024.

Sterne Kessler IP Law Writing Competition

  • Sponsor: Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox
  • Topic in 2023 Competition was: Intellectual property law.
  • Format in 2023 Competition was: "Students should prepare an original two-part essay: Part I (less than 300 words): Prepare a short personal statement, including at least one motivating factor for you in choosing to pursue a career in intellectual property law.  Part II (400-800 words): Choose a recent U.S. Federal Circuit decision (within the last two years) and discuss its immediate and/or potential impact on intellectual property law."
  • Eligibility requirements in 2023 Competition included: "All students enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school during the Fall 2023 semester and expecting to graduate in Spring 2025, 2026, or 2027 are eligible and encouraged to submit entries."  "To be eligible for a prize, each applicant must upload:
    • Resume/CV
    • Fall 2023 semester law school transcript (unofficial copies accepted)
    • Original two-part essay"
  • Prizes in 2023 Competition were: "We will announce three winners and prizes include $10,000 to 1st place, $5,000 to 2nd place, and $2,500 to 3rd place.  All three winners will receive guaranteed interviews for a Summer Associate or other appropriate position."
  • Deadline for 2023 Competition was: January 31, 2024.