LAW8144 : International Intellectual Property Law

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


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 trade marks - 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 justifications for IPR (patents, copyright and trade marks); the main treaties and their relationships; specific issues of IPR within an international context, such as protection of biodiversity, software protection and access to information.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching82:0016:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study801:0080:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This is an advanced knowledge module which emphasises student learning by reading and evaluating primary sources and a wide range of contemporary literature in a fast-changing area of law and policy. Students will be encouraged to contribute, where appropriate, by oral presentations in the seminar programme.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1351A1003 out of 6 questions
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1M2000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This module requires extensive reading and absorption of detailed principles and practice. Students will be given a non-assessed essay in Semester One which will give them an opportunity to test their knowledge at an early stage and to receive detailed feedback specific to the subject matter of the module and generally on their ability to organise materials and present coherent arguments. The examination at the end of Semester One will give students the opportunity to demonstrate those same skills, plus the acquisition of knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge, in a wider variety of areas.

Reading Lists