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Unit information: 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 Intellectual Property
Unit code LAWDM0022
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
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


This unit will provide an overview of the different types of intellectual property and their function and justification. It will focus on the UK, international and EU framework for the protection of copyright, trademarks and patents and the implications of harmonization for the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

The main topics covered will be:

  • History, function and justification of intellectual property rights
  • Foundations of the international and European intellectual property rights system
  • Legislation and cases relating to scope of protection and enforcement of copyright, trademarks and patents
  • Interaction of European and UK courts
  • Challenges posed by harmonization of IP rights

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able:

  1. Describe and analyse the main features of the UK Intellectual Property rights system and its relationship to the European and International Property rights system.
  2. Explain and evaluate the basic principles of protection and enforcement of copyright, patents and trademarks in UK law.
  3. Identify and accurately apply relevant legislation and leading case law to factual scenarios and problems
  4. Analyse and compare how UK and EU law are applied to the determination of IP disputes
  5. Identify gaps, overlaps and tensions between international, EU and domestic IP laws
  6. Evaluate the impact of international and European harmonization of IP rights
  7. Identify and think critically about some of the key challenges presented by proposals for reform of IP rights.

Teaching details

This unit is taught by way of 20 lectures (approx.), 10 two-hour seminars and 2 assessment preparation and feedback sessions. Lectures are delivered jointly to students on the related undergraduate unit.

Assessment Details

Summative: a 2000 word essay (33%) and a 3 hour written examination (67%). Both assessments will assess all of the Intended Learning Outcomes for this unit in the context of topics selected by the examiners.

Formative: students should do one formative assessment (this will usually be 1 x 1500 word essay).

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)