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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 Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe International Intellectual Property System (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 ensuing 150 years, was the establishment of a number of international bodies responsible for the development and oversight of a variety of Treaties and Agreements providing both formal and substantive norms which were (and are) in turn translated into domestic law. These measures have had a significant impact on the shape of domestic intellectual property laws, the development of which has quickened with the growth in international trade coupled with innovative technological advances. However, there are significant tensions within the system. Many of these have been brought about through the incorporation of intellectual property into international trade law via the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement).

This module will examine the IIPS mainly from a legal perspective. However, policy and institutional perspectives will also be considered. Crucially, the course aims to train students to think critically about intellectual property within the context of international law. In this regard, the international rules for the protection of different types of intellectual property rights (such as copyright, patent rights, and trademarks) will be critically examined. Moreover, the international institutions where these rules are made and administered (such as the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the World Trade Organisation) will also be considered. Importantly, a major theme that will run through the entire course is a critical examination of the policy space available to states under international intellectual property law. Furthermore, apart from studying some of the key treaties and cases in the field of international intellectual property law, students will also critically examine the interface between international intellectual property law and other areas of international law such as international trade law and international investment law.

Please note: we will not be looking in depth at substantive aspects of IP law except where they are relevant in the context of the IIPS. It is assumed that you have a basic knowledge of IP law prior to taking this course.
Course description Week 1. The IIPS: historical development, institutions, and actors
Week 2. The IIPS: principles, regime shifting, and tensions
Week 3. The TRIPS Agreement
Week 4. International Copyright Law Week 5. International Patent Law
Week 6. International Trademark Law
Week 7. Enforcement and the National Security Exception Week 8. The Investor-State Dispute Settlement System and the IIPS (Part 1)
Week 9. The Investor-State Dispute Settlement System and the IIPS (Part 2)
Week 10. Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Please contact the online learning team at
Additional Costs Students must have regular and reliable access to the Internet.
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate knowledge that covers and integrates all the main areas of international IP law, including the principles, actors and treaties and also develop a critical understanding of the interface between international IP law and other branches of international law
  2. apply the knowledge and understanding to current developments and tensions within international IP law and its interface with other branches of international law
  3. critically analyse and evaluate current issues and tensions in international IP law and its interface with other branches of international law
  4. exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in undertaking reading and research and make informed judgments on current issues and tensions in international IP law.
Reading List
A detailed list of key resources will be available at the start of the course.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop their skills and abilities in:

1. Research and enquiry, through e.g. selecting and deploying appropriate research techniques;

2. Personal and intellectual autonomy, e.g. developing the ability to independently assess the relevance and importance of primary and secondary sources;

3. Communication, e.g. skills in summarising and communicating information and ideas effectively in written form;

4. Personal effectiveness, e.g. working constructively as a member of an online community;

5. Students will also develop their technical/practical skills, throughout the course, e.g. in articulating, evidencing and sustaining a line of argument, and engaging in a convincing critique of another's arguments.
Special Arrangements This course is taught by online learning.
Additional Class Delivery Information This course is taught by online learning.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Emmanuel Kolawole Oke
Tel: (0131 6)51 4586
Course secretaryMs Clare Polson
Tel: (0131 6)51 9704
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