LAWS3248/JURD7448 Intellectual Property 2

Lecturer: Michael Handler

What is the course about?

Intellectual Property 2 examines three areas: the regulation of inventions under patent law; the equitable doctrine of confidential information; and the various legal avenues of protection for registered and unregistered trademarks. It explores the legal doctrines underpinning these areas and how the courts and parliament continue to grapple with how to best protect – or indeed whether to protect – the very diverse subject matter that arise in the context of patent law, the law of confidential information, and trade mark law.

Why does this subject interest you?

If you think of any piece of technology today, chances are that aspects of it are protected by at least two of the three legal regimes covered in this course. Various elements of the technology might be protected under one of more patents. Alternatively, rather than disclose their creation to the public, the company might use various secrecy measures to protect their invention, and, if anything went wrong, they would need recourse under the law of confidential information. When the invention is released, it will likely be marketed using one or more trade marks – even the shape of the invention might be protected under a trade mark. IP2 examines these fascinating and diverse elements of law, business and society today.

Any advice to give for students interested in taking this course?

Whether you come from a commerce, arts, computer science or chemistry background, there is something of interest for everyone in IP2. Also, IP2 is a standalone course so you don’t need to take IP1 if you want to take IP2.

How will this course be relevant in the future?

Given the areas covered – from human genes to computer programs to methods of medical treatment under patent law, and everything from sounds to shapes to scents under trade mark law – the subject matter covered in IP2 will definitely continue to be challenging and controversial in the years to come.

Student: Cameron Graf

What is the course about?

This course covers three main areas of intellectual property law: patent law, which protects and encourages inventions and innovation; the legal protection of business reputation through registered trade marks and common law tortious remedies; and the laws surrounding breaches of confidence, protecting protects trade secrets and personal information.

The course details the legal grounds and/or practical processes for obtaining, exploiting, enforcing or challenging these legal protections under statute and common law, as well as the history and policy discussions regarding the scope of protection offered. This is done in a very logical and well-structured manner (a weekly three hour tutorial), providing a holistic but detailed exposure and evaluation of the law.

Why does the subject interest you?

IP law is a dynamic area of law. Some of its key foundations stretch back centuries ago, and its evolution in line with emerging technologies and changing interactions in a digitalised society are complex and unique.

The subject matter also covers many relevant aspects of our lives due to our constant interactions with businesses – both externally and as employees – and so is useful knowledge for your legal arsenal.

Any advice to give students who are interested in taking this course?

The course builds upon itself sequentially in each teaching half of the semester. This makes it easy to follow, but requires you to always connect what you learn to the bigger picture of the relevant area of law.

The workload (several take home assignments plus class participation) is manageable and can relieve pressure off your overall workload, and the readings are interesting, digestible and reasonable.

Engaging in class discussions, especially regarding controversial cases or unsettled areas, will be invaluable for anyone wanting to understand the content at a deeper level.

How will this course be relevant in the future?

As technology, businesses and our personal lives change, the development of intellectual property law will shape or constrain how society grows as well. Understanding the rationale and consequences of the legal protections are important to appreciating developments that will occur in years to come.