Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module LAW43115: Introduction to Intellectual Property Law

Department: Law

LAW43115: Introduction to Intellectual Property Law

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • to provide a study of the fundamental aspects of the ownership and exercise of intellectual property rights.
  • to introduce students to the granting criteria and post-grant exercise of intellectual property rights at the national and European level.
  • to enable students to develop their analytical skills
  • to introduce students to legal, moral, social and political debates which inform the subject matter and scope of the various rights at the national and European level.


  • a general introduction to the various levels of laws regulating intellectual property rights: national, European and international;
  • an introduction to the fundamental aspects of intellectual property law at the national and regional level
  • an introduction to the three main areas of intellectual property, patents, copyright and trade marks.
  • an introduction of the current policy and practice of the leading institutional bodies charged with responsibility for administering intellectual property rights
  • A study of the nature and scope of the three main intellectual property rights.
  • an introduction to contemporary critical analyses of intellectual property policy issues and recent developments in a national and regional context.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • students will gain an in-depth knowledge of the three main intellectual property rights, patents, copyright and trade marks;
  • 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 and regional 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;
  • students will be able to analyse and evaluate the existing law in the light of the legal, social, political and moral questions raised.
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 3,000 Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3000 100% Essay 3000 words

Formative Assessment:

The formative will consist of writing a review of a selected topical article. Writing the review will help students understand an area of intellectual property law as well as how to put forward a coherent argument. The review will be 1000 words in length.

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