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LAW8569 : International Intellectual Property Law (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ben Farrand
  • Lecturer: Dr Bronwen Jones, Prof. Andrew Griffiths
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To acquire knowledge and understanding of intellectual property law, including its operation in the context of international trade.

Although the acquisition and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) is primarily a matter of domestic law, international conventions secure a measure of harmonisation. The advent of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) and its incorporation into the world trade regime has rendered IP one of the most controversial aspects of international law. WTO member states must adopt and enforce minimum standards of IPR and are subject to the powerful dispute settlement procedure of the WTO. Contentious areas include access to natural resources such as biodiversity, genetically modified organisms, and patenting of life forms, access to medicines, and protection for cultural expressions, software and databases, as well as access to information.

The module allows for study of the three core IPR - patents, copyright and trademarks along with associated or pseudo-IP rights such as trade secrecy, geographical indications and traditional knowledge - and how international developments affect the formation and application of domestic IP law. It will be of interest to students who wish to work in international aspects of IP law, including trade policy or WTO law, and to those wishing to enter private commercial work.

Outline Of Syllabus

The proposed outline of the syllabus is as follows, with the proviso that case studies will change each year dependent upon current issues, controversies and developments.

1) What is Intellectual Property? From Economics to Politics to Law

2) The history of international intellectual property

3) Copyright I: Scope, rights, exceptions

4) Copyright II: Contemporary issues in copyright law

5) Patents I: Scope, rights, exceptions

6) Patents II: Contemporary issues in patent law

7) Trademarks I: Scope, rights, exceptions

8) Trademarks II: Contemporary issues in trademark law

9) Associated rights: geographical indications of origin and trade secrecy

10) Current issue case studies: may include (but is not limited to) IP and sustainability, IP and Artificial Intelligence, IP and public health

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00In person classes (FLEX: can be moved to synchronous small group teaching if required)
Guided Independent StudySkills practice41:004:004 one-hour Canvas-facilitated activities intended to familarise students with key theories, ideas
Guided Independent StudySkills practice120:153:0012 Multiple Choice Quizzes
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1107:00107:00Combination of own reading and revision of substantive module content.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time41:004:00Four one-hour long Q&A sessions
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Small group teaching has been determined to be the most effective mode of content delivery for PGT students, allowing for a blend of instructor-led discussion and student-led group work, which is preferable to relying predominantly on lectures for student contact. The four one-hour long online activities will provide students with opportunities to test their knowledge and understanding of course content through four activities – the first, interpreting and answering questions on the TRIPS Agreement, the second the interpretation of national legislation implementing TRIPS requirements, the third an academic article, and the fourth (which leads into the final assessment), which involves students reviewing and assessing a sample assignment essay.

The scheduled online Q&As allow for students to ‘drop in’ and ask questions concerning course content, and the MCQ activities provide students with instantaneous formative feedback on their understanding of substantive factual course content.

The teaching methods have been adapted for delivery in the post-COVID environment and are based on the presumption that in person lectures, seminars and in-person drop-in sessions will be possible but that this shall need to be supplemented by making alternative arrangements under ‘FLEX’ in case of the possibility of more limited possibilities for on Campus teaching).

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M100A research assessment in which students are expected to answer one of a number of offered questions. 2,500 words.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MThis writing activity will familiarise students with the expectations of postgraduate written work. 1,000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formative assessment is provided in the form of a writing activity. Set at the beginning of semester and drawing from the content of the first four weeks of the module content, this activity both familiarises students with the expectations and conventions of writing at LLM level, as well as allowing for students to be assessed on their understanding of the theories and concepts serving as the basis for the IIP system. The feedback provided in this assessment will directly prepare students for their final assessed essay for the module.

The final summative component is a full 2,500 word assessed research essay. Students will be expected to answer one of five assigned questions that each covers a range of issues covered in the module, or alternatively, propose their own research essay that is subject to module leader approval. This assessed essay will test their ability to think critically and reflect upon both module content and the substance of the interdisciplinary course content, so that they are able to then apply their legal knowledge to questions concerning a number of complex real-world scenario situations, be they related to topics such as the interaction between copyright protection and access to cultural content, or trademarks and public health goals. Students will be expected to go beyond ‘traditional’ doctrinal assessment, engaging with a wider body of materials (as discussed throughout the course), to provide a more holistic understanding of the interactions between international relations, political economy and law in the protection of intellectual property.

Reading Lists