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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: International Intellectual Property System (LAWS11179)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaLaw Other subject areaNone
Course website Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe purpose of this course is to examine the International Intellectual Property system (IIPS) with a particular focus on how the framework is changing in response to challenges posed by international trade and rapid digital innovations.
The IIPS began developing in the 19th century in response to the then advances in cross-border trade. As intellectual property laws are territorial, so some mechanism had to be found through which protection could be accorded to authors and inventors as their works were traded abroad. The response over the subsequent years was the establishment of a number of international bodies responsible for the development and oversight of a variety of treaties and agreements. These measures have had a significant impact on the shape and growth of domestic intellectual property laws. However, there are significant tensions within the systems, including those pertaining to the relationship between IP and trade (especially the TRIPs Agreement), and between IP and human rights. Further issues arise in relation to the interests of developing nations and autochthonous communities; the negotiation of new instruments (such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, ACTA) has proven to be difficult and controversial.
This module will examine the IIPS, primarily from institutional perspective. A range of forms of intellectual property are considered, including issues at the margins of IP, within the domains of information, communication, and international trade. The syllabus includes the analysis of the architecture of the IIPS, the consideration of the ways in which the laws are developed and debated, and the study of formal and (selected) substantive aspects of selected treaties alongside current developments and emerging issues.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Please contact the distance learning team at
Additional Costs Students should have regular and reliable access to the Internet.

Print consumables (paper and ink) would be recommended to provide hard copy of some on screen text and materials (e.g. articles).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesPlease contact the distance learning team at
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Class Delivery Information This course is taught by distance learning.
Course Start Date 16/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 40, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 156 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module the student will be able to:
1. Conceptualise the IIPS and understand how the constituent parts fit together;
2. Appreciate the tensions that underlie developments in the IIPS and how these are played out in the international arena;
3. Understand the most important aspects of the IIPS and how that relates to regional and domestic intellectual property laws;
4. Critically comment on the tensions in the IIPS being wrought by international trade and digital information developments, including debates in relation to development and human rights;
5. Comment on the utility of the enforcement system through which states are encouraged to meet their international obligations;
6. Assess whether selected domestic laws and practices conform with the IIPS.

Assessment Information
One essay of up to 4,000 words (60%); one individual assignment (20%); contribution to weekly online discussions throughout the semester (20%). Requirements for all module assessment will be outlined to students within the individual modules at the start of each semester.
Special Arrangements
This course is taught by distance learning.
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus 1. The IIPS: institutions and actors
2. The IIPS: principles
3. The Berne system
4. IP and the World Trade Organization
5. Human rights and the IIPS
6. Culture, heritage and folklore
7. Trade marks, domain names, and geographical indications
8. Current issues in international patent law
9. Enforcement and dispute resolution
10. Emerging technologies and the IIPS
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Daithi Mac Sithigh
Tel: (0131 6)50 9510
Course secretaryMs Clare Polson
Tel: (0131 6)51 4411
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