Projects in Law & Technology
The Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) is WPI's junior year thesis requirement. The IQP gives students the opportunity to do independent research on some aspect of the relationship between society and technology.
Projects in Law and Technology (IQP Division 52) give students the chance to study the legal and political controversies that arise from the use of technology, the regulation of technology, or the impact of technology (like DNA testing) on legal institutions.
Projects involving law and technology are open to any WPI student. Sometimes, pre-law students use the IQP to further some interest in a legal subject, but these projects are not reserved for pre-law students.
Some project ideas originate with students. Examples include studies of:
- The First Amendment and attempts to regulate Internet content
- The Orphan Drug Act as a way of stimulating drug research
- Regulations applicable to dietary supplements
- Efforts to harmonize patent law in the US, Europe and Japan
- The problems that arose when people have (successfully) attempted to patent genetic material and computer code.
- Attempts by California to use regulations to promote the sale of electric vehicles
Other projects have originated with local sponsors in the Worcester legal community. For example, the Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Mass sponsored three projects to help evaluate whether the Internet could be used effectively to provide legal advice to low-income housing clients. The Massachusetts District Court - Worcester Division asked WPI students to research "best practices" in case management in the District Courts.