Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)


Department: Law


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Introduction to English Law and Legal Method (LAW 1121) and Law of Torts (LAW 1051) and EU Constitutional Law (LAW 1061) and Law of Contract (LAW 1071) and The Individual and the State (LAW 1081) and UK Constitutional Law (LAW 1091).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide students with a sound understanding of the law of intellectual property at a national, regional and international level, as well as providing an insight into the administration and management of these intellectual properties
  • In addition it aims to introduce the student to some of the historical, theoretical, social and political contexts which inform the substantive content of intellectual property law.


  • The concept of property and the nature of intellectual property rights and obligations
  • The international administration of intellectual property, the exploitation of intellectual property, the impact of the EC upon the domestic legal system, and the exhaustion of rights doctrine
  • Remedies available for the infringement of intellectual properties
  • Copyright Law: subject matter and scope of protection; criteria for protection; duration; authorship and ownership; employee's works; moral rights; infringement; permitted acts
  • Patent law: grant and content; validity; scope and duration; employee's inventions; restrictions upon unfair exercise; infringement; defences
  • The Law of Trade Marks and passing off: registration; absolute and relative grounds for refusal; nature of protection; infringement; defences; revocation, invalidity and acquiescence; remedies and infringement; passing off
  • Confidential Information: history and development of the confidence action; elements for breach; confidential information and trade secrets; employees and obligation of confidence; unauthorised use, public interest defence; remedies

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students should be able to demonstrate a sound understanding of the law of intellectual property within a national, regional and international context.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Apply their knowledge of substantive law to given factual situations and advise accordingly
  • Analyse and evaluate the existing law in light of the legal, theoretical, social and political issues raised
  • Engage in informed debate concerning the reform and/or future directions of intellectual property law
Key Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate a clear ability to work independently as well as taking responsibility for his or her own learning

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

  • Students are expected to work independently, in preparation for each seminar. A framework lecture will be delivered in order to offer a "starting point" for the preparation of the following seminar topic. Seminars provide the opportunity for students to develop and enhance their capacity for legal-problem solving in a particular factual situation, evaluative critical analysis and their appreciation of laws' linkage with broader fields of enquiry.
  • Assignments (formative) are used both to develop problem-solving skills, the ability to engage in sustained evaluation of proposed schemes of reforms, and the ability to evaluate the law in a critical and contextual way.
  • Summative assessment comprises one unseen examination. The examination tests the ability to focus on relevant legal issues and organise knowledge and argument appropriate to questions raised. The examination questions will provide the means for students to demonstrate the acquisition of subject knowledge and the development of their problem-solving skills.
  • Students will be supported and encouraged in the development of their research and writing skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Tutorials 4 Normally two in each of Michaelmas and Epiphany 1 hour 4
Preparation and Reading 176
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
written examination 3 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

1 essay/term

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