LAWCOMM 713 - Intellectual Property

Lecturer biography

Rob Batty is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Law. Rob teaches and researches in the area of intellectual property law. Rob’s research has a particular focus on trade mark law and he has published widely on issues related to trade mark law. Before joining academia, Rob worked as a lawyer in New Zealand and Australia, specialising in intellectual property law.

Course outline

This course examines selected issues in intellectual property law. Intellectual property law is a broad area of law that includes patents, copyright, trade marks, registered designs and confidential information. This course will explore current topical issues within these subject areas. Although the focus will primarily be on New Zealand law, the course will also draw comparisons with the intellectual property laws of other common law based jurisdictions.


Topics covered in this course will include:

  • The justifications for intellectual property protection
  • The international intellectual property framework
  • Ownership of intellectual property
  • Patentable subject matter
  • Protecting commercial secrets
  • Protecting industrial designs
  • The boundaries of copyright protection
  • The fair use and fair dealing provisions in copyright law
  • Territoriality and passing off
  • Non-traditional trademarks
  • Trade mark infringement
  • Parallel imports and exhaustion

Learning outcomes

Students who complete this course successfully should demonstrate:

  1. Comprehension and application of key legal principles and concepts that relate to selected intellectual property issues;
  2. An ability to critically evaluate the existing law that relates to selected intellectual property issues;
  3. Effective written communication and legal research through the completion of a research essay; and
  4. Effective oral communication skills by providing insightful contributions as a part of seminar discussions in the course.

Assessment and class participation

  • 100% coursework consisting of 15% class participation
  • 85% research essay (12,000 words) due by 12 noon 25 October 2019

Class Participation

Students will be asked to “lead” a discussion on a particular seminar topic during the semester. Each seminar topic will have a series of readings allocated to it, along with some guided questions.

The student nominated to lead the discussion will be asked to be the main contributor and facilitator of class discussion on that particular topic. The nominated student will also be required to prepare and submit a one-page written synopsis at the beginning of class. The synopsis should identify and explain the three most significant matters the student has learned in the process of preparing to lead the class discussion. Without limitation, such matters could include: how and why New Zealand intellectual property law on the topic differs from the law of other jurisdictions; the degree of alignment of the law with theoretical justifications or policy rationales; or the practical implications resulting from the operation of the law.

The synopsis should be at least 300 words in length, but no more than 500 words.

In addition, each student is expected to make individual contributions to the seminar discussions throughout the course.

Students will be individually assessed on the quality of their contributions as set out below.

Criteria and marking for lead discussion and synopsis (10%)

  • The extent of preparation for leading the discussions and completing the written synopsis, in particular the analysis of the reading materials and guided questions
  • The depth and thoroughness of understanding of the reading materials and guided questions
  • The strength and clarity of the arguments and reflections presented in the written synopsis
  • The ability to draw worthwhile conclusions in the class discussion and in the written synopsis
  • The ability to reflect on the learnings gained from the discussion exercise and to place the learnings within a wider context

Criteria and marking for overall class participation (5%)

  • Thoughtfulness of contributions
  • Strength and clarity of the arguments presented
  • Generally, engagement in class and respect for fellow students

Research Essay

Each student is required to submit a research essay of no more than 12,000 words (inclusive of footnotes, title and abstract, not including a bibliography if one if included). The essay is to be original work, relying on secondary and primary sources, on a topic of the student’s choosing.

Descriptive essays are not encouraged. Instead students are expected to engage with relevant legal topic (of their own choosing) by: explaining and critiquing the law and its underlying policies; providing a conceptual analysis of the law; examining the operation of the law in practice; and developing proposals for reform.

The research essay MUST be the work of the enrolled student. Another person, other than the enrolled student, MUST NOT write the essay nor do the research on behalf of the enrolled student. Plagiarism is forbidden and, in that regard, each student should read the University’s plagiarism policy and adhere to it. All research essays are to comply with the New Zealand Law Style Guide.

Essays must be submitted to the Faculty of Law by 12 noon on 25 October 2019. Extensions must be requested formally through the Postgraduate Manager.

Course details

Semester: Two (full semester)
Points: 30
Time: Tuesdays, 5-8pm
Venue: Building 810, Room 3.40
1-11 Short Street
Assessment due date: 25 October 2019

Contact details

Postgraduate Student Advisor
Law Student Centre
Level 2, 1-11 Short St