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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Law

LAW43215: Advanced Issues of International Intellectual Property Law

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2021/22


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • to provide an in-depth study of fundamental aspects of the ownership and exercise of intellectual property rights
  • to provide a critical analysis of current and topical intellectual property issues in the national, European and international level
  • to enable students to improve their analytical skills


  • A general introduction to the various levels of laws regulating intellectual property rights at the national, European and international level;
  • A study of recent and developing areas of intellectual property such as the patenting of biological material, copyright in the digital era, traditional knowledge and geographical indications.
  • An examination of current judicial interpretations and attitudes to key aspects of IP jurisprudence;
  • The existence/exercise dichotomy: EC law solutions including case-law from the Court of Justice of the European Union and harmonization through the adoption of EC secondary legislation
  • A study of the impact of selected international treaties and conventions in intellectual property law;
  • A study of the current policy and practice of the leading institutional bodies charged with responsibility for administering intellectual property rights;
  • A contemporary critical analyses of intellectual property policy issues and recent developments in an international context. .

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • students will gain an in-depth knowledge of the laws relating to main stream and developing forms of intellectual property rights
  • students will develop an understanding of the key legal concepts, principles and doctrines which underpin intellectual property law
  • students will develop a critical understanding of the policy issues and the methods of interpretation and application of national, regional and international intellectual property law.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • students will be able to identify the role and functions of the UK and European bodies responsible for granting intellectual property rights;
  • students will be able to identify and use the leading primary and secondary sources relevant to a given legal issue, and to be able to use them to reach informed and reasoned conclusions on points of law relating to intellectual property;
  • students will be able to critically analyse the jurisprudence in intellectual property law;
  • students will be able to identify the legal issues relevant to a specific problem relating to intellectual property;
Key Skills:
  • students will be able to critically review existing law and/or practices in relation to specific aspects of intellectual property law;
  • students will be able to write a substantial and well-researched piece of work on specific aspects of intellectual property law

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The teaching will be based on a combination of lectures and seminars. The lectures will introduce the topic and the seminars, supported by substantial but targeted reading assignments before each seminar, will provide a deeper understanding of the issues. The readings are selected from both established doctrinal sources as well as cutting-edge scholarship in the area. The lectures will work from a basic level of doctrinal knowledge and build on that foundation into discussions of more difficult and controversial issues within the seminars. This will encourage students to learn the material and develop the ability to discuss it and understand where each aspect of the reading fits in with the relevant debates.
  • The assessment supports the aims of the teaching methods. The essay will assess the ability of the students not only to analyse the subject material, but to perform research in the discipline, and present a structured, articulate argument on the subject.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 8 Weekly, with reading weeks 2 16
Preparation and Reading 134
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 words 100% One resit in accordance with University regulations

Formative Assessment:

One optional essay or problem question of approximately 1500 words

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University