LLM in Intellectual Property Law
The LLM in Intellectual Property Law is designed to equip you with an advanced knowledge and understanding of intellectual property law and policy within a domestic (UK), regional (European) and international setting.
During your studies you will have the opportunity to undertake in-depth study of a range of contemporary issues through our taught core courses in intellectual property law, and develop further critical understanding and research skills through a dissertation on an intellectual property issue of your choice.
The programme will expose you to a broad range of perspectives on intellectual property law, practice, and policy. It covers substantive law on all major intellectual property rights, including copyright, trade marks, designs, patents, and common law protection of intellectual property rights. It also examines these rights within the international intellectual property treaty framework and system. The programme assesses the place and role of these rights by investigating a range of topical issues, which underpin contemporary intellectual property law and policy.
At Edinburgh, we take an interdisciplinary approach and the LLM in Intellectual Property Law will offer you the opportunity to examine intellectual property not just in its legal but also social, economic, ethical, cultural and commercial contexts.
In addition to the core intellectual property law courses, as part of your studies you will have the opportunity to choose courses from the wide range of options offered by Edinburgh Law School enabling you to tailor your studies to meet your specific interests.
The LLM in IP Law has brilliant lecturers, wonderfully designed courses, stimulating 'intellectual' discussions, and students from all around the world.
Intellectual property is everywhere today. The global use of intellectual property has been on the rise in the last decade and it is now an important concern in both developed and developing economies. Intellectual property protection has increasingly been associated with the aims of promoting economic growth, innovation, and creativity.
On the one hand, IP-intensive industries are seen to make a significant contribution to GDP and national employment and bring other socio-economic benefits. On the other, tensions remain between intellectual property rights and the development of information and communication technologies, access to medicines and education, and the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy, to name a few.
The ever-increasing role and impact of intellectual property law and policy makes specialised knowledge of this subject a valuable asset for those:
- intending to enter legal practice and specialise in intellectual property law;
- seeking to work in areas such as the creative industries, cultural industries, manufacturing industries, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, computing, information and communication technologies, etc. with a focus on intellectual property;
- intending to take up a policymaking role in relation to knowledge-intensive sectors;
- looking to undertake further postgraduate study in the area of intellectual property law or pursue a research or academic career.
Edinburgh Law School has been specialising in the field of IP for many years and established SCRIPT, a pioneering centre of excellence in the disciplines of IP and IT law, in 1998. SCRIPT, the Scottish Research Centre for IP and Technology Law, explores the intersection between law, technology and society from a multidisciplinary and multi-jurisdiction perspective. The centre received generous support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. From 2012 to 2018, Edinburgh Law School’s IP specialists, who are also SCRIPT members, formed part of the RCUK-funded multi-institutional CREATe consortium. SCRIPT continues to be highly regarded and partners the LLM in Intellectual Property Law.
Current members of the IP team (Dr Smita Kheria, Ms Jane Cornwell, Dr Emmanuel Oke, and Dr Amandine Leonard) offer expertise spanning copyright, designs, trade marks, patents, international IP, IP and human rights, and IP enforcement and the relationship between IP, innovation and creativity. Engaging with diverse research methodologies - doctrinal, socio-legal, and empirical – they conduct innovative research examining topics including creative and cultural intersections, international IP, and IP practice and policy. Dr Kheria and Ms Cornwell are co-authors of a leading textbook on IP rights (Contemporary Intellectual Property: Law and Policy, Oxford University Press).
The SCRIPT Centre runs a highly regarded online open access peer-reviewed journal, SCRIPT-ed. SCRIPTed publishes its peer-reviewed articles and analysis pieces on an ongoing, rolling basis, with contributions being collated into three issues per year (April, August, December). As a student on the LLM in Intellectual Property Law, you will have the opportunity to apply to be a student editor of the journal.
You may also choose to participate in extra-curricular activities to enhance your learning. Opportunities for Intellectual Property focussed extra-curricular activities vary from year to year. In recent years, teams have entered the prestigious Annual Oxford International Intellectual Property Law Moot Competition. Students have also visited the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art to discuss the intersection between copyright and contemporary art by reviewing some well-known artworks on display, and have been hosted at the University’s 3D printing studio to learn more about developments in this exciting technological field.
Students on the LLM in Intellectual Property are invited to attend guest lectures and events organised via SCRIPT.
If you have any questions about the LLM in Intellectual Property Law please don't hesitate to contact us.
This programme can be taken full-time over one year, or part-time over two years subject to visa restrictions. It offers you exclusive access to the whole range of core courses from the field of intellectual property offered in Edinburgh Law School while also giving you the option to tailor the programme to suit your needs and interests.
The programme consists of 180 credits, comprising taught courses worth 120 credits (60 credits per semester) and a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits. Full programme details for the 2023-24 academic year are available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.
Courses listed below are scheduled for the 2023-24 academic year.
Depending on demand, space on specific courses may be limited.
You must select between 80 and 120 credits from the following courses:
- Intellectual Property Law 1: Copyright and Related Rights (20 credits)
The purpose of this course is to consider the law relating to copyright, design rights, database right, and performers' rights within their institutional setting at international, European and national level.
Recent years have witnessed an expansion in the scope of intellectual property rights, and having examined the institutional setting in which policy is formed, the reach and impact of these rights within the UK will be analysed.
The teaching sessions will also highlight areas of particular topicality.
- Intellectual Property Law 2: Industrial Property (20 credits)
The purpose of this course is to consider the laws relating to patents, trade marks, passing off, and breach of confidence. Noting the international framework and context, the focus will be on European and UK law.
Recent years have witnessed an expansion in the scope of these intellectual property rights. This course will examine in detail the law on subsistence/entitlement to protection, infringement and defences for all of the relevant rights, alongside discussion of wider policy, economic and other considerations.
The sessions will also highlight areas of particular topicality.
- Intellectual Property Law, Innovation and Creativity (20 credits)
Intellectual Property laws are often associated with the aims of promoting 'innovation' and 'creativity'. But how do Intellectual Property laws actually impact upon innovation and creativity? Do they promote or hinder them? What is the relationship between Intellectual Property Laws and the variety of activities that they are designed to affect in everyday life? Are there gaps between what Intellectual Property laws aim to achieve and what they actually achieve? Why do these gaps exist and how can they be filled? How should Intellectual Property policy be formulated? This course explores these questions by examining a selection of recent empirical legal research that has investigated the role and impact of IP rights in the ‘real world’.
- Contemporary Issues in Exploiting Intellectual Property (20 credits)
Intellectual Property (IP) is of fundamental importance in the modern economy. In certain sectors, IP rights - whether copyright, trade marks, design rights, or patents - can be the most valuable asset a business owns. Such value is realised through successful exploitation of those IP rights.
This research-led, but practice-focussed, course will examine important contemporary issues in exploitation of IP. The course will be highly responsive to legal and policy developments in both the commercial context and other contexts such as the cultural sector.
Due to the nature and focus of the course, the teaching content and programme will be flexible and may change substantially from year to year, as topical issues are resolved and new issues emerge.
Advanced Issues in Patent Law and Policy (20 credits)
Patents are a key component of most modern economies as they aim to foster innovation and promote economic growth.
This course will provide in-depth analysis of the legal and policy framework applicable to patents and will answer fundamental questions at the UK, European Union and international level.
Advanced Issues in Registered Trade Mark Law (20 credits)
This course will provide in-depth coverage of registered trade mark law in the UK under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and at EU level under the EU Trade Mark Regulation 2017 (and predecessor legislation). Comparison with the trade mark laws of other jurisdictions will be introduced where of interest to particular topics of study.
This course will foster a thorough understanding of substantive registered trade mark law through close examination of relevant legislation and case law. It will examine the principal theoretical and policy perspectives underpinning registered trade mark law, and will explore a number of cross-cutting underlying themes including: mechanisms for policing the boundary of the registered trade mark monopoly; preventing trade mark overreach; tensions between normative and empirical considerations; overlaps with other intellectual property rights; and the challenges posed by the evolution of modern commerce and brand strategies. The course will also encourage students to develop practical perspectives on registered trade mark filing, portfolio management and enforcement practices.
You must select between 0 and 40 credits of courses from the different subject areas offered by the Law School, depending on availability and with the express permission of the Programme Director. Depending on demand, space on courses outside the core courses may be limited.
Full programme details, including core and optional courses is available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.
Having successfully completed 120 credit points of taught courses within the LLM in Intellectual Property Law, you will be ready to move onto a single piece of independent and in-depth research. The 10,000 word dissertation allows you to focus on a preferred topic within the area of intellectual property law, normally based on a subject you have studied in one of your courses during the programme.
You will be assigned an academic dissertation supervisor who will provide you with support and guidance while you prepare and write your dissertation.
The dissertation is a challenging but rewarding endeavour, asking you to demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the relevant literature and an ability to engage critically with a range of sources, drawing on the skills and knowledge you have developed during the course of the programme. Students are encouraged to show originality and evidence of independent thinking, whether in terms of the material used, or the manner in which it is presented.
The dissertation is written in the summer months (April to August) after the taught courses are successfully completed.
Please note that due to unforeseen circumstances or lack of demand for particular courses, we may not be able to run all courses as advertised come the start of the academic year.
If you have any questions about the LLM in Intellectual Property Law please don't hesitate to contact us.
Staff teaching on the core courses of the LLM in Intellectual Property Law are experts in their field and are actively involved in cutting-edge research in the field.
Jane Cornwell joined the University of Edinburgh as a lecturer in intellectual property law in October 2010. After graduating from the University of Cambridge, she qualified and practised as a solicitor in the intellectual property team at Linklaters LLP in London. Thereafter she spent several years practising at McGrigors LLP in Scotland, latterly as Director in the Edinburgh litigation team specialising in contentious intellectual property.
Since joining the University of Edinburgh, Jane has acted for several years as Programme Director for the Law School’s online LLM in Intellectual Property Law as well as teaching across a range of on-campus and online undergraduate and postgraduate IP courses. She has also acted as Deputy Director of Postgraduate Taught Studies, with particular focus on online learning. She is a co-author of the textbook Contemporary Intellectual Property: Law and Policy (3rd, 4th and 5th edns, OUP).
Jane's expertise covers a wide range of IP rights. Her particular interests include trade marks, design law and IP remedies, with a particular focus of the impact of European harmonisation in these fields, including trade marks, designs, patents and breach of confidence.
Amandine joined the University of Edinburgh as an early career fellow in IP law in August 2020. Her research and teaching interests lie primarily in the area of patent law and, in particular, patent enforcement.
She also conducts research on the rationales and objectives of IP law, the approach adopted by the United States and European countries regarding limitations and exceptions in IP law, the interface between competition law and IP law, as well as issues of liability for patent infringement in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).
Prior to joining the University of Edinburgh, she was an Emile Noël postdoctoral fellow at the Jean Monnet Center of NYU School of Law.
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. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2008 and he is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
His research interests includes international and comparative aspects of intellectual property law. Specifically, his research explores the interface between intellectual property and other branches of international law such as international trade law, international investment law, international taxation law, and international human rights law.
The staff teaching on this programme are subject to change for 2023-24. Staff listed as on sabbatical will not be available to teach for the duration of their sabbatical.
If you have any questions about the LLM in Intellectual Property Law please don't hesitate to contact us.
Find out what it's like to study for an LLM in Intellectual Property Law at Edinburgh Law School from our current and former students.
Linus studied the LLM in Intellectual Property Law in the 2021-22 academic year, graduating in 2022.
"After starting my career in Intellectual Property in Germany I sought to gain a fresh and international perspective on the subject matter. The programme in Edinburgh more than exceeded my expectations and offered valuable insights into the quirks and intricacies of IP – both from a UK as well as a global angle.
Stimulating discussions with fellow students from diverse backgrounds as well as the challenging and thought-provoking guidance by the excellent teaching staff provided new perspectives and impulses invaluable for my future career in IP. Furthermore, innovative and enthusiastic teaching, with references to and the implementation of art, popular culture, human rights, and arising new technologies reaffirmed Edinburgh as the optimal choice for my studies abroad.
Besides that, sunshine on Leith, whisky in the Royal Oak, and hikes around Arthur’s Seat completed my wonderful experience in fairytale-like Edinburgh and offered a counterbalance to at times strenuous (but nonetheless educational and enjoyable) assignments. I can therefore wholeheartedly recommend the University of Edinburgh for anyone seeking to expand their views on IP while spending a year in an enriching, diverse, and eventful environment."
Zongshuai studied the LLM in Intellectual Property Law in the 2021-22 academic year, graduating in 2022.
"Coming from an engineering background, I worked and studied in Singapore for fives year before I started the study at the University of Edinburgh in September 2021.
Both the city and the course structure drove me to apply for the LLM programme delivered by this University. For the former, I have been impressed by Edinburgh’s stunning views since my first visit in 2019. Meanwhile, the programme structure comprehensively covers each topic of intellectual property, such as patents and copyright, and allows students to explore certain topics or areas further.
During my time in Edinburgh, every sunset I came across reminded me of how lucky I was to be here. Meanwhile, the experienced faculties guided me to broaden my academic capacity with their strict but reachable standards."
Jelizaveta studied the LLM in Intellectual Property Law part-time during the 2020-22 academic years, graduating in 2022.
"When I chose my master's degree, I decided to combine my passion for art, creativity, and innovation with my knowledge of the law. I was interested in education in Scotland long before and coincidentally, the University of Edinburgh offered an Intellectual Property Law master's programme.
This program is unique because I could not find anything similar in quality and content either in my home country or in other European countries. The program ‘Intellectual Property Law’ is good in its versatility, it provides general information about the subjects of IP law and draws you into detailed discussions on current topics in this area. The freedom to choose some courses gives you the opportunity to realise your full potential.
Even though my studies took place during the active spread of Covid, Edinburgh Law School quickly adapted to the new reality and the quality of education even improved with the use of new technologies. Moreover, I constantly felt support from the Postgraduate Office and the Programme Director."
Guillem, from Spain, graduated with an LLM in Intellectual Property Law in 2020. In this video he talks about his experience of studying for an LLM at Edinburgh Law School, life in Edinburgh, completing his studies during the Covid-19 pandemic and his plans for the future.
Due to my passionate interest in intellectual property law, once I obtained my LLB degree in China, I chose to pursue an LLM in this subject at the University of Edinburgh.
The programme here provided me with the unique opportunity of studying IP at international level and communicating with fellow students from a variety of backgrounds.
The programme completely satisfied all my demands. The multifarious and thoroughly professional seminar-based courses were both fully interactive and inspirational, focusing not only on the fundamental principles but also on the issues and authentic effects of IP systems in practical scenarios. I have great admiration for these excellent courses which covered academic expertise from both international and domestic perspectives.
In addition, I have immense appreciation for every member of academic staff, particularly regarding their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are all incredibly knowledgeable and considerate and have provided me with irreplaceable support.
Living in this mesmerising city made every day a pleasure. The unprecedented academic and personal experience during this year will have a long-lasting effect on my life.
Hanrui studied the LLM in Intellectual Property Law in the academic year 2019-20, graduating in 2020.
Dorothea, from Greece, graduated with an LLM in Intellectual Property Law in 2020. In this video she talks about her experience of studying for an LLM at Edinburgh Law School, life in Edinburgh, completing her studies during the Covid-19 pandemic and her plans for the future.
Sonja, a student from Germany, studied the LLM in Intellectual Property Law during the 2018-19 academic year, graduating in 2019. In this video she talks about her experience of studying for the LLM at Edinburgh Law School and her time in Edinburgh.
Saraswathy talks about her experience of studying the LLM in Intellectual Property Law at Edinburgh Law School.
Marleen studied the LLM in Intellectual Property Law in the 2018-19 academic year, graduating in 2019.
"After graduating from law school in Germany, I was looking for a programme which combines fundamental principles of a foreign system of intellectual property rights with in-depth discussions with classmates coming from various countries on issues deriving from ongoing technological progression.
With seminars based on an interactive teaching method, the programme at the University of Edinburgh perfectly matched my interests and helped me to define my academic career in a field of law of ever-increasing importance. The variety of course choices was particularly valuable. In addition to courses on the domestic intellectual property law system, I also got the chance to get an international perspective on the subject. Moreover, I appreciated how the broad variety of courses enabled an insight on the interface between intellectual property rights and human rights as well as European competition law.
The excellent academic education, the approachable lecturers and the vibrant student life in Edinburgh (including various student societies and sport clubs) made my year abroad an exciting and enriching chapter. The specialist knowledge I acquired during the year will be very valuable during my clerkship and my future career in intellectual property law."
Applications for the 2023-24 academic year have now closed. Applications for the 2024-25 academic year will open in October 2023.
Please note that the information provided is for entry in the 2023-24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ.
This programme can be taken full-time over one year, or part-time over two years subject to visa restrictions.
Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.
We recommend that you apply as early as possible. This is particularly important for applicants who may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test, for overseas students who may need time to satisfy necessary visa requirements and/or to apply for University accommodation.
We require a minimum 2:1 honours degree from a UK university, or its international equivalent, in law. We may also consider candidates with a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a non-law subject if they can demonstrate prior high-level study or experience of intellectual property topics. Entry to this programme is competitive. Meeting minimum requirements for consideration does not guarantee an offer of study.
Supporting your application
- Relevant work experience is not required but may increase your chances of acceptance.
- Relevant professional qualifications will be considered.
- Preference will be given to those with grades above the minimum requirements due to strong competition for places on this programme.
You can check whether your degree qualification is equivalent to the minimum standard before applying.
Students from China
This degree is Band A.
Postgraduate study in the field of law requires a thorough, complex and demanding knowledge of English, so we ask that the communication skills of all students are at the same minimum standard.
You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
- IELTS Academic: total 7.0 (at least 7.0 in the writing component and 6.5 in each other module)
- TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 25 in writing and 23 in each other module)
- C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 (at least 185 in writing and 176 in in all other components)
- Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components
- PTE Academic and PTE Academic Online: 70 overall with at least 70 in the writing component and 62 in each other component.
Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
Degrees taught and assessed in English
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The UK Government's website provides a list of majority English speaking countries.
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, or equivalent, that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.
Approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries
If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.
Your application may not be successful if you do not currently satisfy any of these requirements; alternatively, you may be offered a place conditional on your reaching the satisfactory standard by the time you start the degree.
Pre-sessional English for Academic Purposes
We also accept satisfactory completion of our English for Academic Purposes programme as meeting our English language requirements. You must complete the programme no more than two years and one month before the start date of the degree you are applying to study.
English language support
The University runs a series of programmes for English Language Education, including a pre-sessional English Language Programme intended to strengthen your English Language skills before you start your programme of study.
Deadlines for applicants applying to study the LLM in Intellectual Property Law in 2024-25 are provided in the table below.
|Round||Application deadline||Decisions by|
|1||13 November 2023||14 December 2023|
|2||04 January 2024||20 February 2024|
|3||04 March 2024||29 April 2024|
|4||01 May 2024||25 June 2024|
|5||21 June 2024||17 July 2024|
We monitor application numbers carefully to ensure we are able to accommodate all those who receive offers. It may therefore be necessary to close a programme earlier than the published deadline and if this is the case we will place a four-week warning notice on the relevant programme page.
Please note that the deadline for meeting the conditions of an offer is 18 August 2024.
Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.
Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:
- Degree certificates showing award of degree
- Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes (please upload the full transcript showing results from all years of study)
- A reference in support of your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the LLM programme
- Evidence of English language proficiency, if required
If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.
You will also be required to submit a personal statement of about 500 words, outlining your academic history, relevant experience and motivations for wanting to study the programme to which you are applying.
Students at this University must not undertake any other concurrent credit bearing studies in this (or in any other) institution, unless the College has granted permission. The College must be satisfied that any additional credit-bearing studies will not restrict the student’s ability to complete their existing programme of study. Students will not be permitted to undertake concurrent degree programmes in any circumstances.
If you are studying at this or another institution just prior to the start of your postgraduate studies you must have finished these studies before the start of the programme to which you have an offer.
After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University's applicant hub.
Application processing times will vary, however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.
You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:
- You may be offered a place unconditionally
- You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
Please note that the deadline for meeting the conditions of an offer is 18 August 2023.
- Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
View the University's guidance for unsuccessful applicants
Deferring your offer
We do not normally offer deferrals, however, we may be able to make a very limited number of offers for deferred entry in exceptional circumstances.
If you receive an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, you will be asked to pay a tuition fee deposit of £1,500 (within 28 days of receiving your offer) to secure your place on the programme.
The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.
If you have any questions about applying to the LLM in Intellectual Property Law please don't hesitate to contact us.