Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module LAW52630: Selected Issues of International Intellectual Property Law

Department: Law

LAW52630: Selected Issues of International Intellectual Property Law

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2007/08


  • 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, as well as a critical introduction to current and topical intellectual property issues in the national, European and international arena.


  • a general introduction to the various levels of laws regulating intellectual property rights: national, European and international;
  • topical issues in national Intellectual Property Law such as the impact of the new Information Society Directive, Patenting of Biological matter, the proposed Community Patent and its relationship to national Patents and the European Patent and an examination of current judicial interpretations and attitudes to key aspects of IP jurisprudence;
  • existence/exercise dichotomy: EC law solutions including case-law from the European Court of Justice and harmonization through the adoption of EC secondary legislation;
  • an introduction of the current policy and practice of the leading institutional bodies charged with responsibility for administering intellectual property rights;
  • an introduction to 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 relevant to the specific issues chosen for study;
  • 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 Socratic seminars supported by substantial but targeted reading assignments before each seminar session. The readings are selected from both established doctrinal sources as well as cutting-edge scholarship in the area. The seminars will work from a basic level of doctrinal knowledge and build on that foundation into discussions of more difficult and controversial issues within the sub-discipline. 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 elements of assessment complement one another and support the aims of the teaching methods. The exam will assess the extent to which students have developed an overall grasp of the subject matter and issues, and can discuss challenging problems emerging in the sub-discipline. The essay will assess the ability of the students not only to analyse the subject material, but to perform research in the sub-discipline, and present a structured, articulate argument on the subject.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 15 Weekly, with reading weeks 2 30
Preparation and Reading 270
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 word 100%
Component: Unseen Written Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written Examination. Students are permitted to take printed or written materials into the examination. 1 hour 30 mins 100%

Formative Assessment:

The course will incorporate elements of formative assessment, but the methods of assessment may vary from year to year, depending upon the students' preferred examination option. They may incorporate: written work, development of subject portfolios, seminar hosting, group and individual presentation.

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