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Module SXL-2136:
Intellectual Property Law

Module Facts

Run by School of Law

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Wei Shi

Overall aims and purpose

Intellectual Property Law is an optional module in the LLB programme. The aim of this module is to enable students to state and apply the rules of English and EU intellectual property law accurately and relevantly. It will also enable students to make assessments of those laws and the scholarship pertaining thereto. Having studied this module, students will be able to compare and contrast English intellectual property law accurately and relevantly with the equivalent field of any other legal system with which the student is familiar. This module will also enable students to relate English and EU intellectual property law to the particular circumstances - political, social and cultural - in which it developed.

Course content

The course will consist of a historical overview of the development of intellectual property law in the UK, at European Union level and internationally. It will examine the law of copyright in relation to literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works as well as in broadcasts, films and sound recordings. It will also examine performers’ rights in their performances. It will also examine the law of trade secrets, patent law, the registration and protection of designs and trade marks and the common law tort of passing-off. In each of the areas, the scope of protection will be examined, the rights conferred on the holders of the rights, dealings in the rights and remedies, both civil and criminal, against infringers of rights.

Assessment Criteria

C- to C+

Lower Second: 50-59 : An answer which, while always in the main accurate and correct, fails to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant material and is lacking in criticism. An answer which while reliable with regard to correctness is either not comprehensive or not entirely pertinent.


Third Class : 40-49 : An answer which, while predominantly correct in its presentation of material, contains a significant level of error and is therefore not entirely reliable.


Upper Second: 60-69 : A comprehensive answer, containing all the material relevant to the question and no irrelevancy, all the material and references being accurate and correct, there being no inaccuracy or error, the whole presented in an argument which, while clear, logical and critical, leaves room for improvement in its construction and presentation. An answer which shows complete competence in the subject.


First Class : 70-100: An outstanding, possibly brilliant, answer, containing all the material relevant to the question and no irrelevancy, all the material and references being accurate and correct, there being no inaccuracy or error, the whole presented in a clear, logical, critical argument with little room for improvement. An answer which demonstrates a complete mastery of the subject.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the key principles, characteristics and concepts of English and EU intellectual property law and be able to relate them to their political, social, economic, and cultural context.

  2. Have an understanding of the principal differences that exist between the four main components of intellectual property rights: patents, trademarks, copyright and industrial designs.

  3. Explain in detail the concept that intellectual property governance occurs at three distinct levels: domestic (UK), EU and multilateral (e.g. WIPO, WTO (TRIPs)).

  4. Find and use relevant legal sources/resources to identify actual or proposed reforms of English and EU intellectual property law.

  5. Show an understanding of how developing technologies, in particular the Internet, are sometimes used to undermine intellectual property holders’ rights.

  6. Show an appreciation of the strong synergies between Intellectual Property Law and Information Technology Law.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Written Essay 1
2 hour 2

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study 160

20 seminars, two hours per week over two semesters. Seminars will routinely require students to engage individually and in groups in acquiring, commenting upon and applying the principles and details of the subject under the guidance and instruction of the tutor.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Develop the ability to interpret legal rules and employ techniques of legal reasoning competently and efficiently in order to offer a range of solutions and conclusions to actual or hypothetical complex legal problems, all supported by relevant academic literature, jurisprudence and legislative research. Such solutions will be clearly communicated and presented
  • Develop the ability to analyse complex legal issues, set against the background of the political, social, economic or cultural contexts in which they may arise
  • Develop those skills which are necessary for scholarship and research in legal subjects, namely the ability to identify relevant primary and secondary legal sources and to retrieve accurate legal information using paper and electronic sources

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module