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Unit information: Introduction to Intellectual Property in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Introduction to Intellectual Property
Unit code LAWD20043
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Charlesworth
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The unit will provide an overview of the UK/EU intellectual property regime, focusing on the legal instruments and principles relating to copyright, trade marks and patents. It will situate UK law within the international and European intellectual property system and examine the implications of harmonization for the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

Topics covered are:

  • History, function and justification of intellectual property rights
  • Foundations of the international and European intellectual property rights system
  • Core legislation and cases relating on UK/EU copyright, trade marks and patents
  • Overlapping jurisdiction of courts and Implications of harmonization for enforcement of IP rights

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

1. Describe the main features of the UK Intellectual Property Rights system and its relationship to the European and International Property Rights system.

2. Explain the basic principles of protection and enforcement of copyright, patents and trademarks in UK law.

3. Identify and apply relevant legislation and leading case law to factual scenarios and problems

4. Analyze and compare how UK and EU law are applied to the determination of IP disputes

5. Critically appraise the impact of EU harmonization on national IP law.

Teaching details

There will be 20 x 1hr lectures, 7 x 2-hr seminars. Lectures will provide the basic structure around which the assigned reading for the unit will be based. The seminars will take a Socratic approach with students expected to undertake the assigned reading and be prepared to discuss the material.

Assessment Details

1 x formative assessment (submitted for marking), plus additional informal formative feedback opportunities as indicated by the unit coordinator.

Formative assessments do not count towards final mark and can be optional.

1 summative assessment: 1 x 3 hour exam in the Summer Exam Period. Summative assessments do count towards final mark.

The assessments will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

  • Lionel Bently and Brad Sherman, Intellectual Property Law. (OUP 2014)
  • William Cornish, Gordon Ionwy, David Llewelyn, and Tanya Aplin, Intellectual Property: Patents, Copyright, Trade Marks & Allied Rights (OUP 2013).
  • Susy Frankel and Daniel J. Gervais, Advanced Introduction to International Intellectual Property, (Edward Elgar Publishing 2016)
  • Justine Pila & Paul Torremans, European Intellectual Property Law, (OUP 2016)
  • Elizabeth Norman, Intellectual Property, (OUP 2nd edition)
  • Waelde, Brown, Kheria and Cornwall, Contemporary Intellectual Property (OUP 4th edition)