Intellectual Property Law (PG)

Key information

Start date
End date
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Law

Module overview

Intellectual property is a collective noun for an aggregate of individual disciplines of law.

The only common theme among them is that all are concerned with intangible creation. In a recent decision, the Supreme Court stated "{h}ere there is no particular potency about the expression intellectual property because there is a general consensus as to its core content . . . , but no general consensus as to its limits", Phillips v Mulcaire [2013] 1 A.C. 1, para. 20.

Accordingly, this Module focuses solely on the core disciplines within intellectual property law in the UK and thus covers: copyright, sui generis databases right, patents, breach of confidence and trade secrets. Since EU law has significantly influenced domestic law, this Module will cover the relevant EU Directives and Regulations as well as the rulings of the CJEU in the intellectual property field.

Furthermore, since the commercialisation and exploitation of intellectual property rights recognise no national boundaries, the Module will cover the major instruments that aimed to achieve a minimum level of protection at the international level. Thus, the following international conventions/treaties will be examined:

  • the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works [1971];
  • the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property [1967];
  • the WIPO Copyright Treaty [1996]; AND
  • the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights [1994]


  • 2 hours lectures per week
  • 1 hour seminar per week

Scope and syllabus

Part I- Industrial Property:

1. The Paris Convention [1967]
2. Patents [history and philosophy]
3. Patents [novelty]
4. Patents [inventive step];
5. Patents[industrial application]
6. Confidentiality; AND
7. Trade Secrets.

Part II- Copyright:

8. The Berne Convention [1971] and WIPO Copyright Treaty [1996]
9. Subsistence of Protection [Subject Matter-Fixation- Qualification]
10. Originality
11.  Authorship
12. Ownership
13. Moral Rights
14. Economic Rights
15. Communication in Public
16. Communication to the Public; AND
17. Exceptions and Limitations.

Part III- Sui generis:

18- Protection of Databases.

Part IV- Multi-Regime Measures:

19- The TRIPS Agreement [1994

Method of assessment

  • 1 unseen exam paper: 60% (2 hours)
  • Essay: 40% (4000 words)

Suggested reading

  • Blackstone’s Statutes on Intellectual Property (14th ed, OUP, 2018)
  • Aplin, T and J Davis, Intellectual Property Law: Text, Cases and Materials 4th ed (OUP 2021)
  • Cornish, Llewelyn & Aplin, Intellectual Property: Patents Copyright and Allied Rights (9th ed., Sweet & Maxwell, 2019)
  • Bently & Sherman, Intellectual Property Law 5th ed (OUP, 2018)

These are the main periodicals for this module:

  • E I P R  European Intellectual Property Review (Westlaw)
  • Ent L R  Entertainment Law Review (Westlaw)
  • I I C  International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition (Westlaw)
  • I P Q  Intellectual Property Quarterly (Westlaw)
  • J. Copyright Soc’y U.S.A. Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA (Westlaw under US Directory)
  • In addition to the general law reports, the following are IP-specific Law Reports:
  • R P C     Reports of Patent Cases (Westlaw)
  • F S R  Fleet Street Reports (Westlaw)
  • E M L R Entertainment and Media Law Reports (Westlaw)
  • E C D R European Copyright and Design Reports (Westlaw)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.