LAWS8017/JURD7321 Intellectual Property Law

Lecturer: Alexandra George or Sam Hallahan

What is the course about?
This course is the Masters version of the LLB/JD course Foundations of Intellectual Property Law. It is an introductory ‘survey’ course, which gives students a foundational working knowledge of the core elements of all of intellectual property’s main doctrines in a single subject. It covers the fundamental statutory provisions and common law principles of intellectual property so that students learn:

  • how to identify when copyright subsists (i.e. comes into existence), what rights accompany it, what exceptions limit those rights (e.g. fair dealing), and what constitutes infringement/defences;
  • the elements of an action for breach of confidence;
  • a brief overview of how s 18 of the Australian Consumer Law 2010 works;
  • the elements of an action for passing off (i.e. how to identify and protect an unregistered ‘trade mark’, such as celebrity reputation); and
  • how to register trade marks, designs, and patents (including: the procedure, registrability criteria; oppositions to registration); what constitutes infringement; defences.

There can be a variety of assessment tasks (eg.. class tests, take home problem question assignments, an essay, and maximisable opt-in assessment of CP).

Why does the subject interest you?
Intellectual property is a fabulous, fascinating area of law!! Just about anything that interests you is likely to be affected by intellectual property law. If you want to go into business or advise business people, you’ll want to know about intellectual property law. And if you want to practice in just about any area of law, you’re likely to find that intellectual property issues pop up from time to time. Better still, it’s super interesting. If you like art, music, literature, dance, theatre, sport, computer games, photography, web design, social media, blogging, making films, downloading from the internet, or even collecting data sets, creating catalogues, writing phone directories or talking to ghosts, you’re likely to enjoy copyright law. If you’re interested in fashion, cars, consumer products or other designer items, you’ll probably like designs law. Patent law is all about inventions, and it affects cutting edge topics such as the development of pharmaceuticals, genomic research, green technologies, and which mobile phone company will dominate the market this year. If you’re into brands, celebrities or marketing, trade mark and passing off law will probably be your thing.

If you’re ever lost for conversation at a party, or for something to sound passionate about at a job interview, solve the problem by talking about what you’ve learned in intellectual property classes. It’s such a fun area of law that there really is something here to interest everyone!

Do you have any advice to give students who are interested in taking this course?
Just turn up and open your mind to seeing the world differently. Once you’ve studied this subject, you’re likely to see things around you that you hadn’t noticed before, you’re likely to understand much better how business and marketing work, and there’s a good chance you’ll see the world in a whole new light.

From a practical perspective, students who complete the course should emerge with solid foundations that give them a working understanding of intellectual property and will enable them to deal with day-to-day intellectual property questions in practice.

The course will also give students a good basis on which to build if they would like to specialise in intellectual property law (e.g. if they want to work in the intellectual property section of a commercial firm, undertake postgrad study in intellectual property law, go on to become a Trade Mark and/or Patent Attorney, or even just do a further LLB/JD elective in IP or a research thesis on the subject). Many students who’ve taken this course have been so enchanted by the subject that they’ve gone on to work in intellectual property law.

In the 2017 academic year, this course is expected to run in the evenings at the CBD campus throughout Semester 1.

Which Intellectual Property Course(s) to Choose?
If you’re trying to choose between LAWS3021/JURD7321 Foundations of Intellectual Property Law and LAWS8017/ JURD7717 Intellectual Property Law, the former is strongly recommended for LLB/JD students. Here’s why:

LAWS3021/JURD7321 Foundations of Intellectual Property LawLAWS8017/JURD7717 Intellectual Property Law
The courses cover the same material but do so slightly differently
Course designed for LLB/JD studentsCourse designed for LLM students but open to some LLB and JD students
36 hours of class time24 hours of class time
6 hour/week for first 6 weeks of semesterEvening classes
Kensington campusCBD campus
Everything is covered in class and there are more class exercises to embed understanding.We move through the material more quickly and you’ll be expected to do more independent study.
Assessment choices include class tests, problem questions, research essay, and opt-in maximisable class participationThere may be fewer assessment choices

For students who want to follow on with an additional IP subject, both courses count as a pre- or corequisite for LAWS3057/JURD7357 Advanced Intellectual Property Policy and Practice. In 2017, Advanced IP is scheduled to run in Semester 2.

Because there’s too much overlap in subject matter, neither course is open to those students who take or have taken LAWS3046 Intellectual Property 1 and/or LAWS3248 Intellectual Property 2 (this alternative stream covers intellectual property law’s various doctrines in 72 hours, split into two 36 hour courses).