Legal Aspects of Managing Intellectual Property

Course summary

This course will examine the legal considerations relevant to commercialisation and enforcement of the principal intellectual property ("IP") rights. The primary jurisdictional focus of the course will be the UK and Europe, together with discussion of international registration procedures for registered IP rights. This course will involve the consideration of legal issues drawing from a range of subject areas, including patent and trade mark practice, contract, commercial law, international private law and civil enforcement procedure.

The course will address how the principal IP rights are created, protected, owned, transacted and enforced. This will include examination of the law relating to ownership and registration of relevant rights at the UK, European and international levels. The course will look at different ways of commercialising and transacting in IP rights. The course will also examine a range of legal issues relating to enforcement, including the UK law of groundless threats, jurisdiction and cross-border enforcement, evidential issues and the remedies available in the event of infringement.

Students are expected to read and fully engage with doctrinal/black letter law (primary materials in the form of statutes, directives and case law) in addition to legal scholarship in this area. This course is taught at Masters level and the emphasis is on independent learning and student participation. During teaching, students are expected to contribute to discussions and to take responsibility for their own learning. The reading materials which are referred to are by no means exhaustive and students are encouraged to undertake independent research. Students undertaking the course will be expected to carry out independent personal research for their assignments over and beyond the issues and materials discussed during teaching.

It is very important to understand that this course will *not* look at any detailed questions of substantive IP law on matters such as the subsistence, validity and infringement of any of the principal IP rights. These are matters which are covered in other courses available on the eLLM programme.

Where relevant for that week's topic, your reading lists will contain directions to some foundational reading material covering these issues for students who, in their own time, need to familiarise or refresh themselves on these points. It is the responsibility of students who have not studied substantive IP law or who need to revise their knowledge of the substantive law to carry out the necessary foundational reading as part of their own personal study in order to be able to make the most out of each week's discussions. Where possible within your personal programme of study it is particularly recommended that students should have previously taken the "Intellectual Property Law: Industrial Property" course or be taking this course at the same time as "Legal Aspects of Managing IP".

All students taking this course should have or will be given access to a soft copy of the textbook 'Contemporary Intellectual Property: Law and Policy' (OUP, latest edition). If you have not studied IP law before it is an essential part of your preparation for this course that you read: Chapter 1 "Intellectual property law: an introduction". As noted immediately above, where relevant (for example, on trade marks, copyright and patents), specific chapters from this book will be highlighted as appropriate background or refresher reading for students requiring a reminder of the relevant substantive IP law.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course you should be able to :

  • Demonstrate knowledge that covers and integrates the law on how the principal IP rights are created, protected, owned, transacted and enforced in the UK, with discussion of relevant European and international aspects;
  • Evaluate mechanisms for protecting, and thereafter exploiting, intellectual property at national, regional and international levels;
  • Apply critical analysis and evaluation to key issues arising in relation to commercialisation and enforcement of IP;
  • Exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in undertaking reading and research and make informed judgments on issues arising in relation to commercialisation and enforcement of IP.


Student presentation with slides (40%); essay of up to 3,500 words (60%). 

Terms and conditions

Please note the University reserves the right to make variations to the contents of programmes, including the range of courses offered, and the available choice of courses in any given year may change.

Find out more about the University's terms and conditions