Postgraduate Module Descriptor

LAWM101: Patent and Design Law

This module descriptor refers to the 2020/1 academic year.

Module Aims

The purpose of the module is to give you an awareness of the operation of the legal regimes that exist in the UK, European Union and on a wider international basis for the protection of new inventions via the patent system and in relation to novel designs via the design registration system.

  • You will be stimulated by discussion and individual/team presentations to examine the historical, economic, social and legal rationales advanced for the legal protections provided to designers and inventors.
  • Over the period of the module, you will examine arguments both for reforming and strengthening the law but in some cases possibly restricting the monopolies created by the relevant regimes on public interest grounds e.g. in controversial areas such as pharmaceuticals and biotechnological inventions.
  • You will be able to consider whether the common criticism of the patent system – that it does not work effectively for small and medium sized businesses – is a fair one and what might be done to address the concerns raised by SME’s.
  • You will develop an awareness and an ability to apply to practical situations core concepts in the law of patents and designs such as novelty, obviousness and industrial application and issues of priorities between competing inventors and designers.
  • You will gain a general awareness of the mechanics of the system in the sense of what is needed to make a valid patent or design right application and the pitfalls to be avoided.
  • You will develop an awareness of the scope of the legal rights granted to patent and design right owners and their ability to take action against infringers of their rights and the remedies available to them.
  • At all times, you will be stimulated to consider current controversies and issues that surround the operation of the patent and design systems such as the current attempts to create a unified European Union patent and the arguments for and against the centralisation of the system in the EU.

Overall, you will develop a critical and questioning attitude to this branch of intellectual property.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here - you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. Demonstrate deep and systematic knowledge and understanding of the law relating to patent and design law and an extensive range of major concepts, values and principles relevant to its application;
2. Undertake complex critical evaluation of the main legal rules, institutions and procedures relevant to patent and design law, using specialist literature and current research;
3. Compare, analyse and synthesise innovatively the principle rules and theories relating to the scope of protection of patent and design rights;
4. Identify, explain and evaluate key issues in the law of patents and designs, critically and comprehensively and to apply relevant rules and a range of theories systematically;
5. Demonstrate deep and critical awareness of a wide range of legal and contextual implications of the areas of patent and design law studied;
Discipline-Specific Skills6. Demonstrate detailed and comprehensive knowledge and understanding of a range of legal concepts, values, principles and institutions and procedures, and the capacity to evaluate systematically the relationships among them as well as their limits;
7. Apply detailed and comprehensive legal knowledge and understanding to a problem/case study and to argue alternative approaches/ to propose solutions innovatively;
Personal and Key Skills8. Interact effectively, confidently and proactively within a team/learning group to share information and ideas and to clarify, plan and undertake tasks confidently and independently, individually and with others, to reflect critically on the learning process and to make use of feedback efficiently; and
9. Work independently and effectively and to manage time efficiently in preparing for scheduled learning activities, exercises and assessments.