Lecturer in International Intellectual Property Law

View my full research profile

  • Tel: +44 (0)131 651 4586
  • Email: emmanuel.oke@ed.ac.uk
  • Office and Feedback Hours for current students:
    Fridays, 3pm-5pm


Emmanuel joined the School of Law as a Lecturer in International Intellectual Property Law in August 2016. He has LLB and LLM degrees from the University of Lagos. He also has an LLM degree in Intellectual Property and Technology Law from the National University of Singapore. He obtained his PhD degree from University College Cork. 

His teaching and research focuses on international and comparative aspects of intellectual property law, and an examination of the relationship between intellectual property and human rights. He is also interested in analysing intellectual property rights in the context of business and human rights.

He teaches International Intellectual Property Law, and Intellectual Property and Human Rights. He welcomes proposals for postgraduate research on topics examining the interface and tensions between Intellectual Property and Human Rights. He also welcomes proposals on topics relating to International Intellectual Property Law especially topics that examine the interface between Intellectual Property and other areas of International Law.

Courses Taught

Intellectual Property and Human Rights (LLM) (Course Organiser)

International Intellectual Property System (LLM) (Course Organiser)


Emmanuel Oke, 'Territoriality in Intellectual Property Law: Examining the tension between securing societal goals and treating Intellectual Property as an investment asset', (2018), SCRIPTed: A Journal of Law, Technology and Society, Vol 15, pp 313-348
Abstract: The principle of territoriality is one of the foundational principles of International Intellectual Property Law. This principle allows countries to design their intellectual property laws in a manner that facilitates the achievement of specific societal goals. However, while it is true that this principle has managed to survive the incorporation of intellectual property into the International Trade Law system (via the WTO’s TRIPS Agreement), some scholars have expressed concern that the incorporation of intellectual property into the International Investment Law system via investment agreements (such as Bilateral Investment Treaties) constitutes a potential threat to the principle of territoriality in the International Intellectual Property system. This paper will investigate the tension between the principle of territoriality and the global harmonization of intellectual property standards in the context of the current iteration of intellectual property as an asset in investment agreements. Specifically, it will critically examine how this tension was resolved in two recent investment arbitration disputes. The first is the dispute between Philip Morris and Uruguay which concerned the latter’s implementation of certain measures to curb the consumption of tobacco products in its country but which Philip Morris construed as an expropriation of its trademarks. The second is the dispute between Eli Lilly and Canada which concerned the interpretation of the utility requirement under Canadian patent law. These cases will be used to assess whether there is still scope for the preservation of the principle of territoriality within the ISDS system.

Emmanuel Oke, 'Defining the right to health responsibilities of patent-owning pharmaceutical companies ', (2018), Intellectual Property Quarterly
Abstract: The overlap in the mandates of the former Special Rapporteur on the right to health (Paul Hunt) and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on business and human rights (John Ruggie) has resulted in some inconsistencies between the Guidelines developed by Hunt and the Guiding Principles developed by Ruggie concerning defining the precise scope of the right to health responsibilities of pharmaceutical companies. Nevertheless, defining the right to health responsibilities of pharmaceutical companies is possible through an interpretation of the Hunt Guidelines in the light of the Guiding Principles. This article focuses on defining the right to health responsibilities of patent-owning pharmaceutical companies. It contends that, for this definition of responsibilities to be meaningful, states must take seriously their primary responsibility of respecting, protecting, and fulfilling the right to health by incorporating a model of human rights into their national patent laws. Furthermore, pharmaceutical companies must take seriously their baseline responsibility of respecting the right to health and complying with the provisions contained in national patent laws that are designed to facilitate access to affordable medicines.

Emmanuel Oke, 'Do agricultural companies that own intellectual property rights on seeds and plant varieties have a right-to-food responsibility? ', (2018), Science, Technology and Society
Abstract: Building on both the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the relevant portions of the advisory opinion of the International Monsanto Tribunal, this paper presents a normative argument on the right-to-food responsibility of corporate actors that own and exercise intellectual property rights on seeds and plant varieties. This paper contends that, while states bear the primary responsibility for the right to food, corporate actors that own intellectual property rights on seeds and plant varieties equally have a responsibility to respect the right to food and to ensure that the exercise and enforcement of their intellectual property rights does not negatively affect the ability of small scale farmers to gain access to the means of food production nor threaten agricultural biodiversity as both of these factors are crucial for ensuring food security. In this regard, agricultural companies that own intellectual property rights on seeds and plant varieties should not engage in activities that negatively impact the non-commercial farmers’ seed system nor should they prevent farmers from saving and exchanging seeds.

Emmanuel Oke, 'The right-to-education responsibilities of book publishing companies ', (2018), Indian Journal of Law and Technology
Abstract: The responsibilities of copyright owners, specifically book publishers, should be construed from a human rights perspective. Building on the work of John Ruggie and his ‘Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,’ this paper contends that book publishers have a responsibility to respect human rights including the right to education. As it relates to copyright law, respecting the right to education entails respecting the measures that countries have incorporated into their national copyright laws to facilitate access to learning materials. Furthermore, corporate actors that own copyright in learning materials should not use litigation or the threat of litigation to try to prevent teachers and students from relying on limitations and exceptions to copyright to gain access to learning materials.

Emmanuel Oke, 'Expanding the reach of India’s ‘Bolar’ exemption ', (2015), Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property, Vol 5, pp 509-515
Abstract: In November 2014, the scope of the regulatory review exemption contained in section 107A(a) of the Indian Patents Act was considered by the Delhi High Court in the case of Bayer Corporation v Union of India. In this case, which is a sequel to the compulsory licence that was earlier granted to Natco in respect of Bayer's patented drug in 2012, Natco sought to export 1 kilogramme of the patented active pharmaceutical ingredient to a company in China. Bayer contended that this was in breach of the terms of the compulsory licence and equally outside the scope of section 107A(a). Natco however argued for a broader interpretation of section 107A(a) in a manner that will permit the exportation of patented active pharmaceutical ingredients to producers of generic drugs solely for the purposes of generating information required for obtaining regulatory approval. In accepting Natco's broader interpretation of section 107A(a), the Delhi High Court incorporated a model of human rights into its decision by being mindful of the implications that a restrictive interpretation of section 107A(a) could have on the production of cheaper generic drugs and access to medicines. This decision reinforces India's crucial position as the ‘pharmacy of the developing world’.

Emmanuel Oke, 'Exploring the flexibilities in TRIPS: Lessons from India’s pharmaceutical patent law', (2015), Commonwealth Law Bulletin, Vol 41, pp 82-106
Abstract: This article examines the extent to which the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) permits countries to utilize two key flexibilities, i.e. the exclusion of new forms of known drugs from patent protection and local working requirements to facilitate access to affordable medicines and foster domestic pharmaceutical innovation. It examines how India has implemented and recently utilized these two key flexibilities and concludes with the view that other developing countries can equally follow the Indian model.

Emmanuel Oke, 'Can importation satisfy local working requirements? ', (2015), European Intellectual Property Review, Vol 37, pp 278-284

Emmanuel Oke, 'Image rights of celebrities in the digital era: Is there a need for the right of publicity in Ireland?', (2014), Irish Journal of Legal Studies, Vol 4, pp 92-117

Emmanuel Oke, 'Incorporating a right to health perspective into the resolution of patent law disputes ', (2013), Health and Human Rights Journal, Vol 15, pp 97-109
Abstract: This article adopts the view that the courts in developing countries can play an important role in improving access to medicines in their countries if they incorporate a right to health perspective when adjudicating patent cases involving pharmaceutical products. The article argues that, since patent rights are not human rights, they should not be allowed to trump the right to health. The paper examines two notable cases decided by the courts in Kenya that illustrate the crucial role that incorporating a right to health perspective can play in improving access to medicines. Finally, the paper provides five reasons why courts in developing countries cannot afford to ignore the right to health when adjudicating cases involving patent rights on pharmaceutical products.

Emmanuel Oke, 'Using the right to health to enforce the corporate responsibilities of pharmaceutical companies with regard to access to medicines ', (2013), Journal of Health Diplomacy, Vol 1, pp 1-15
Abstract: Objective: This essay seeks to determine how the corporate responsibilities of pharmaceutical companies in relation to access to medicines can be clarified and enforced.Method: Two cases, one each from India and South Africa, are examined to determine how the domestic courts in both countries indirectly utilized the right to health to ensure that pharmaceutical companies did not impede access to affordable medicines through exercising their patent rights.Summary of findings: There is a need to clarify and enforce the responsibilities pharmaceutical companies have to promote the right to health. The two cases from India and South Africa demonstrate the potentials of domestic courts as forums where these responsibilities can be effectively enforced.Implications: In the absence of a global enforcement mechanism for enforcing the right-to-health responsibilities of pharmaceutical companies, domestic courts can effectively fill this gap. In addition, this essay demonstrates that domestic courts can equally serve as forums for health diplomacy.

Emmanuel Oke, 'South Africa: Aventis Pharma SA & Ors v. Cipla Life Sciences', (2013), International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, Vol 44, pp 244-247

Emmanuel Oke, 'Review of ‘Hiroko Yamane, Interpreting TRIPS: Globalization of Intellectual Property Rights and Access to Medicines,’ (Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2011)', (2013), Asian Journal of International Law, Vol 3, pp 200-201

Emmanuel Oke, 'A Triumph for Generic Medicines and the Right to Health in Africa – Patricia Asero Ochieng & Ors. v. Attorney General (Petition No. 409 of 2009, Judgment of the Kenyan High Court, 20 April 2012) ', (2013), Journal of Generic Medicines, Vol 10, pp 246-248

Emmanuel Oke, Philip Folarin, 'Jurisdictional immunity of international institutions in Nigeria: An appraisal', (2010), Nigerian Bar Journal, Vol 6, pp 68-84


Emmanuel Oke, 'The incorporation of a right to health perspective into the Brazilian patent law reform process ' in Pedro Fortes, Larissa Boratti, Andres Palacios, Tom Gerald Daly (ed.) Law and Policy in Latin America (Palgrave Macmillan 2017) 311-326

Emmanuel Oke, 'Patent rights, access to medicines, and the justiciability of the right to health in Kenya, South Africa and India ' in Alice Diver, Jacinta Miller (ed.) Justiciability of Human Rights Law in Domestic Jurisdictions (Springer 2016) 91-122