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Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run in each academic year. Each module description relates to the year indicated in the module availability box, and this may change from year to year, due to, for example: changing staff expertise, disciplinary developments, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Current modules are subject to change in light of the ongoing disruption caused by Covid-19.

Type Open
Level 3
Credits 20
Availability Available in 2023/24
Module Cap
Location Durham
Department Law


  • Introduction to English Law and Legal Method (LAW 1121) and Law of Torts (LAW 1051) and EU Constitutional Law (LAW 1061) and Law of Contract (LAW 1071) and The Individual and the State (LAW 1081) and UK Constitutional Law (LAW 1091).


  • None.

Excluded Combinations of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide students with a sound understanding of the law of intellectual property at a national, regional and international level, as well as providing an insight into the administration and management of these intellectual properties
  • In addition it aims to introduce the student to some of the historical, theoretical, social and political contexts which inform the substantive content of intellectual property law.


  • The concept of property and the nature of intellectual property rights and obligations
  • The international administration of intellectual property, the exploitation of intellectual property, the impact of the EC upon the domestic legal system, and the exhaustion of rights doctrine
  • Remedies available for the infringement of intellectual properties
  • Copyright Law: subject matter and scope of protection; criteria for protection; duration; authorship and ownership; employee's works; moral rights; infringement; permitted acts
  • Patent law: grant and content; validity; scope and duration; employee's inventions; restrictions upon unfair exercise; infringement; defences
  • The Law of Trade Marks and passing off: registration; absolute and relative grounds for refusal; nature of protection; infringement; defences; revocation, invalidity and acquiescence; remedies and infringement; passing off
  • Confidential Information: history and development of the confidence action; elements for breach; confidential information and trade secrets; employees and obligation of confidence; unauthorised use, public interest defence; remedies

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:

  • Students should be able to demonstrate a sound understanding of the law of intellectual property within a national, regional and international context.

Subject-specific Skills:

  • Students should be able to:
  • Apply their knowledge of substantive law to given factual situations and advise accordingly
  • Analyse and evaluate the existing law in light of the legal, theoretical, social and political issues raised
  • Engage in informed debate concerning the reform and/or future directions of intellectual property law

Key Skills:

  • Students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate a clear ability to work independently as well as taking responsibility for his or her own learning

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Students are expected to work independently, in preparation for each seminar. A framework lecture will be delivered in order to offer a "starting point" for the preparation of the following seminar topic. Seminars provide the opportunity for students to develop and enhance their capacity for legal-problem solving in a particular factual situation, evaluative critical analysis and their appreciation of laws' linkage with broader fields of enquiry.
  • Assignments (formative) are used both to develop problem-solving skills, the ability to engage in sustained evaluation of proposed schemes of reforms, and the ability to evaluate the law in a critical and contextual way.
  • Summative assessment comprises one unseen examination. The examination tests the ability to focus on relevant legal issues and organise knowledge and argument appropriate to questions raised. The examination questions will provide the means for students to demonstrate the acquisition of subject knowledge and the development of their problem-solving skills.
  • Students will be supported and encouraged in the development of their research and writing skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Lectures20Weekly1 hour20 
Tutorials4Normally two in each of Michaelmas and Epiphany1 hour4Yes
Preparation and Reading176 

Summative Assessment

Component: ExaminationComponent Weighting: 100%
ElementLength / DurationElement WeightingResit Opportunity
written examination3 hours100 

Formative Assessment

1 essay/term

More information

If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our FAQ webpages, Help page or our glossary of terms. If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the FAQ, or a query about the on-line Undergraduate Module Handbook, please contact us.

Prospective Students: If you have a query about a specific module or degree programme, please Ask Us.

Current Students: Please contact your department.