Academic Courses

The International Summer University offers a multidisciplinary approach to Intellectual Property Law, Business and Biotechnology. The program reveals a connection between legal and economic issues, as well as natural science. Lectures and seminars are taught by internationally established scholars and practitioniers. Several study field trips in combination with the German language course provide further knowledge in the areas already covered in class. The courses are divided into four main parts:

  • Natural Science: Linking Red and Green Biotechnology
  • Applied Economics: Linking Business, Policies and Entrepreneurship
  • Law: Linking Intellectual Property Rights and Duties
  • Applied Law: Linking Human Rights and Ethic Concerns

1st Week – Natural Science: Linking Red and Green Biotechnology

The first week of our program will directly dive into the field of biotechnology. During this week you will begin to learn about various topics in the field, starting with the development of drugs in the pharmaceutical industry, concentrating on the different stages from having an idea for a new drug all the way to clinical studies. Among others, this will include: hit optimization; lead optimization; different stages in pre-clinical research from the idea to develop a compound to cure specific diseases to synthesis of the compound, pharmacology and toxicology; and clinical studies including its three phases.

Our lectures are not only university lecturers and professors but they are actually working in the field of biotechnology and are able to give you a first-hand account on their experiences, not only including success but also struggles and strategies to overcome these. On top, you will be able to intensify your new knowledge during our business trips later on in the program. There you will see how theory and practice come together.

Towards the end of the week, we will be actively involved in biotechnology in agriculture. You will learn about methods, strategies, and laboratory techniques used for plant and microbe transformation, as well as plant tissue culturing. Genetic transformation of crop plants is a widely discussed topic which you will be able to discuss in detail with other professionals after your stay at JLU. This first week will provide you with the basis for this discussion by teaching fundamental knowledge about risk assessment, environment protection, farmer and consumer protection, as well as food security.

2nd Week – Applied Economics: Linking Business, Policies and Entrepreneurship

The second week of our program will enlarge your gained knowledge even more by attending courses in the field of business, economics and entrepreneurship. One of the first steps for every business is obviously the idea behind it. Nevertheless, not every idea is suitable for transforming it into a service or product, let alone the chance of transforming it into actual profit for a future or already existing business.

This is where our lecture part about Idea Determination and Idea Exploitation comes into play. You will not only learn about different techniques to develop ideas for new products and services. You will also gain knowledge in order to exploit these ideas as best as you can in oder to make the most out of it. In order to give you a realistic view of the business world, this part will also heavily rely on group work since most companies nowadays focus on project teams for fulfilling these tasks.

The second part of our business and economics part will be concerned with concepts for cost-effectiveness analysis of pharmaceuticals, illustrating them using current cases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Hepatitis C. On this basis you will be able to learn more about different approaches to regulating the pharmaceutical market. The suitability of various regulatory approaches for countries with different economic epidemiological conditions will be discussed, as well.

3rd Week – Law: Linking Intellectual Property Rights and Duties

Intellectual Property (IP) is a term that covers many different subtopics. We are not only discussing issues which confront us in our daily lives such as copyrights, designs and trademarks. IP is also closely connected to the curriculum of the first and of course the second week. Companies have to invest enormous amounts of money to develop new drugs or agricultural solutions as you will see on our business trips. Therefore, they depend on some kind of security to make sure that they are able to recoup their investments. Also companies who have spend a lot of time on planning and exploiting their ideas do not want to see these ideas used by business rivals.

Patents themselves and patent law play a big role in almost every company. First of all, you will learn about the basics of IP law including historic treaties and agreements to understand how it emerged and adapted. You will explore the rights of patent owners, the duration of patents, the degree of international uniformity and the degree of effectiveness of patents in protecting and commercializing biotechnological inventions. In the course of this program you will be introduced into three different approaches of patent monetization: cost-approach, income-approach and market-approach method. Another aspect will be live patent auctions which are used as a new mechanism to trade and monetize intellectual property assets.

4th Week – Applied Law: Linking Human Rights and Ethic Concerns

During week three you will probably get to the point where many questions regarding philosophical and moral issues are raised. During your last week in the program you will focus on examining these subjects that tend to gain more and more relevance in our modern and constantly developing society. One session will be exclusively dedicated to traditional knowledge and patents. There you will discuss the rights of tribes who used plants and herbs as medicine for decades and passed their knowledge on from generation to generation.

Some questions you are going to deliberate are: 'How should tribes be included into the process of developing a new drug?', 'Does a company have the right to patent something that has actually been discovered by someone else?', 'And if so, is this company responsible for sharing their profit with the indigenous people?'

Another component of the last week will relate IP law to the issue of human rights. During the study of the linkage between those fields questions such as 'Can it be considered human if a company does only focus on their return on investment instead of caring for seriously ill people who cannot afford expensive drugs?' will be raised and discussed.

Transgenic animals, bioterror and genetically modified crops are only some of the further controversies, which you will take a closer look at. Be sure that our lectures will choose the topics to be discussed very carefully. Depending on which cases might be relevant at the time you will come to Giessen, you might get at first hand account on issues that are also frequently discussed in the news. Not exclusively but especially the case studies will encourage you to actively take part in the discussion with your fellow students during class time.

Language Courses

After the academic courses the participants will attend German language courses in the afternoon. This course is an integral part of the program.