LAWCOMM 404 - Intellectual Property

Credit points: 20 points
Offered: Second Semester
Contact hours: Lectures - 4 hours per week
Course Coordinator: Paul Sumpter
Prerequisite: LAW 231
Restriction: LAW 432

Course description

Intellectual Property law refers to a group of laws which protect “creations of the mind” and is increasingly significant in the digital age. Some are statutory. These are the Copyright Act 1994 and its amendments, the Trade Marks Act 2002, the Patents Act 2013, the Designs Act 1953 and some other legislation, for example the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987. Intellectual property rights which are common law based are passing off and breach of confidence (which protects confidential information).

Content outline

Intellectual property is now such a large body of law that it would be impossible to cover all aspects in a single semester. The emphasis is, therefore, on those aspects which both illustrate the major principles and which are most commonly encountered in general practice.

After an initial introductory lecture on the nature of intellectual property, a significant period of time is spent on the law of copyright. This is followed by a study of the Trade Marks Act 2002 and the related tort of passing off (including reference to the Fair Trading Act). There is then some, fairly brief, coverage of patent and design law followed by lectures on breach of confidence.


1000 word assignment (10%)

3 hour open book exam (90%)

Open book means that you may, if you wish, bring into the exam and refer to any materials such as casebooks, textbooks and study notes.

Recommended text

PC Sumpter Intellectual Property Law - Principles in Practice (CCH, 3rd edition).