module specification

LL6003 - Intellectual Property Law (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Intellectual Property Law
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   1,500 Word Essay
Unseen Examination 60%   Examination comprising a researched seen question and two out of four unseen questions in a sectionalised paper.
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

Intellectual Property Law is a 30 week module providing students with a thorough understanding of intellectual property law in a modern commercial context.  As well as studying the traditional features of trade marks, copyright, patents, designs (overview) and EU IP competition law, students also consider the twenty-first century digital environment and contemporary commercial and governmental policy issues.  The subject is very important for all businesses, marketing, media & creative industries as well as high-technology developers (e.g. IT and biotechnology) and it is taught with a contemporary and challenging focus. Assessment is by a combination of coursework and examination. The module will be of interest to all students who wish to develop a comprehensive understanding of intellectual property protection and understand the importance of protecting creativity and innovation in a global economy. The module is relevant for a range of careers in law, commerce, the media and industry.

Module aims

The module aims to:
Provide a detailed, critical and evaluative knowledge of trade marks, copyright, trade secrets, patents and an overview of designs law;
Appraise the international importance of IP rights in a modern global economy;
Understand the influence of European Union law on IP rights;
Understand the commercial importance of IP exploitation through licensing;
Appreciate the protection of new technology (e.g. computing, biotechnology and genetic engineering) and the importance of technology transfer to businesses;
Enable students to evaluate the impact of global and commercial  policy issues relating to IP; and
Require students to undertake self-directed research on a designated topic and present their findings succinctly in coursework and under examination conditions. 


The syllabus includes the following:
Introduction and commercial awareness of intellectual property law in a global context;
International legal protection of trade marks through registration and common law protection, infringement, defences and remedies;
International legal protection of copyright in literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works, sound recordings, films, broadcasts and published editions;
Protection of confidential information and trade secrets both within a business and social context with emphasis on the media industries;
International patent protection of innovative inventions and product designs (overview);
Commercial exploitation through licensing and technology transfer agreements;
The commercial aspects of trade marks, copyright, patents and designs within a digital environment with particular emphasis on new technologies (e.g. biotechnology) and the internet;
The implications of IP protection in the European Union and in the wider global economy;
Modern governmental, commercial and economic policy issues in relation to IP protection and its impact on the social environment.


Learning and teaching

The module is taught by lectures and seminars with students required to read from specified case law and legal journals.  There is a logical progression through a complex syllabus involving registered and unregistered rights.  Students are given the opportunity to discuss theoretical issues as well as practical problem solving.  Students are supported in undertaking on-line research using electronic law databases and encouraged to use Westlaw on a weekly basis. There is a virtual learning environment (VLE) containing handbooks, lecture notes, weblinks, discussion groups, past assessments, study skills materials and assessment criteria.  Blended learning pervades the delivery of the module and is actively encouraged as students engage with digital materials, use on-line discussion groups (blogs) and achieve a competent  standard of digital literacy during their studies.
Two formative assessments are set and marked promptly with opportunities for feedback both in class and individually.

Knowledge of the topics covered will enhance students’ employability both within the legal profession and more generally in a range of commercial IP related spheres. These include marketing goods and services (e.g. work as a Trade Mark Attorney), IT industries (e.g. domain names, software and database protection) the media (publishing and broadcasting), the music, film and creative industries, the invention and design industries (e.g. engineering). After studying this module, students will possess a high level of IT competence and a thorough underlying knowledge of the value of intellectual property to commercial enterprises.

Students’ study responsibilities are to attend all classes, research and prepare for seminar discussion and academic debate, engage in interactive IT related activities and to undertake all formative and final assessments.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Comprehend and manage a substantial body of legal knowledge on intellectual property law (trade marks, copyright, trade secrets, patents and designs (overview);
2. Possess a contextual commercial awareness of the importance of intellectual property and technology transfer to business organisations;
3. Evaluate the commercial and governmental policy implications of intellectual property law and appreciate its economic and social balance;
4. Possess a critical understanding of the importance of UK, European and global IP protection;
5. Fully comprehend the relationship between traditional IP protection and the modern digital environment;
6. Research and manage legal information from paper and IT resources and present competent legal arguments orally in tutorials and in writing;
7. Synthesise relevant case law and statute, understand and present conflicting arguments and apply the law to problem scenarios relevant to all aspects of IP law; and
8. Display competence in the benchmark skills outcomes of subject knowledge & understanding, application & problem solving and analysis, synthesis, critical judgement & evaluation in assessment by researched coursework (40%) and part-seen examination (60%).

Assessment strategy

The learning outcomes will be examined each year by an essay and a two and a half hour examination.  The essay will be worth 40% of the overall module mark and the examination 60%. Both the essay and the examination will require students to present competent legal arguments in writing. Where appropriate they will need to demonstrate an understanding of policy issues applicable to a Level Six module.

The essay will be 1,500 words.  It will require students to research from paper-based and IT resources (e.g. Westlaw) and to provide a critical analysis and focused piece of legal advice relating to intellectual property law. Answers will need to demonstrate synthesis of materials, judgement & reflection and a critically evaluative exposition of the legal issues.

The examination will comprise one researched seen question (with choice) plus two out of four unseen questions. The examination will test students’ ability to analyse and critically discuss a researched topic as well as to answer under a time-constraint two further questions, one of which must be a problem question.  Students will therefore demonstrate considerable knowledge of case law and statute and their ability to analyse and advise on legal problem scenarios within a practical commercial context


Indicative bibliography and key on-line resources – for full details see section D in Module Booklet

Bainbridge, Intellectual Property, Pearson
Bently and Sherman, Intellectual Property Law, Oxford University Press
Christie and Gare, Blackstone's Statutes on Intellectual Property, Blackstone Press Ltd
Colston, Principles of Intellectual Property Law, Cavendish
Cornish, Cases and Materials on Intellectual Property, Thomson/Sweet and Maxwell
Hart and Fazzani, Intellectual Property Law, Macmillan Press
Holyoak and Torremans, Intellectual Property Law, Oxford University Press
MacQueen, Waelde and Laurie, Contemporary Intellectual Property, Oxford University Press

European Intellectual Property Review
Westlaw and other Law databases

UK Intellectual Property Office:
Office for the Harmonisation of the Internal Market (OHIM):
European Patent Office:
World Intellectual Property Organisation:
UK Government Legislation:
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN):
The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys:
The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys: