Professor Abbe Brown

Professor Abbe Brown
MA (Cantab), Dip IP (Bristol), PhD (Edinburgh), FHEA, Solicitor (non practising) England and Wales, Victoria and Scotland

Dean for Student Support
Professor in Intellectual Property

Professor Abbe Brown
Professor Abbe Brown

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 273129
The University of Aberdeen C59B Taylor Building Old Aberdeen AB24



Abbe Brown joined the University of Aberdeen as a Senior Lecturer in 2012, was appointed Reader in 2015, and Chair in 2017.  Abbe became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2016. Her inaugural lecture "Saving the world and delivering equality? Law, innovation and power" took place in King's College Conference Centre, Aberdeen, 9 March 2018, see via YouTube here

Abbe was a Lecturer in Information Technology Law at the University of Edinburgh from 2006-2012 and an Associate of the AHRC/SCRIPT research centre. Before returning to academia, Abbe spent almost 10 years in professional legal practice in London, Melbourne and Edinburgh. 

Since 2018 Abbe has been involved in negotiations relating to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, with particular reference to intellectual property, access and benefit sharing, technology transfer and an ecoystem approach. A high profile and successful workshop and public session were held at the Royal Society of Edinburgh in January 2020.     See also March 2019 side event here and the side event on 22 August 2019 "Developing Mare Geneticum: notifying, sharing, rewarding and sustaining" see here and here.   She was involved in the Song for the Oceans, raising awareness of this fundamental issue and preparing resources for delegates and their advisers on intellectual property and its interface with science, kindly supported by the Wellcome Trust.  See also our contribution to the Podfest

Abbe provides consultancy activities, notably regarding thought leadership and innovation, and is most interested in further opportunities.  Abbe is the Vice Chair of BILETA (British and Irish Law Education and Technology Association). She organised their annual conference held in Aberdeen in April 2018 and led the development of the teaching recording policy building on the Aberdeen conference, see here.   

Abbe was Econoving Global Fellow at Universud-Pars, has visited at the University of Melbourne, Wirtschaftsuniversitat (Vienna) and Queensland University of Technology. She has been an invited speaker at the International Summer School for IT at Leibniz Universitate Hannover.  Abbe "tweets" from time to time @igftowardaccess.  She maintains links with the legal profession and industry and is involved in public engagement activities, impacct generation and knowledge transfer. On 13 November 2018 she spoke at the British Science Association debate "Would you share your DNA?" in Aberdeen, see here. With colleagues from Aberdeen and elsewhere, she is delighted to be involved in the Scottish Law and Innovation Network (@LawScottish) established in 2021. 

Abbe is the University Dean for Student Support and the School REF lead for REF2021. She is a member of two of the School's Research Centres, the Centre for Commercial Law (which she directed in 2018-19) and the Centre for Energy Law. Abbe is a member of ATRIP, SLS, SCL, IUCN and DOSI.    

Abbe has served as Deputy Head of School, Senior Personal Tutor, Programme Co-Ordinator of the LLMs in Intellectual Property Law, an Academic Line Manager, and has co-ordinated the Intellectual Property and Commercial Research Group within the Law School and established the Law with English Law undergraduate degrees. 

PhD Supervision

Abbe would be interested in receiving PhD supervision requests in respect of any aspect of technology and innovation law. Abbe is supervising students researching in the fields of corporate governance and patents, international institutions and climate change, and IP and climate change. 

Office hours (hours available to students for informal discussion) 

1.30-2.30pm UK time on Thursdays in term time, or at other times. Please email  


Research Interests

Abbe's research explores the interaction between legal fields relevant to innovation and creativity, with a strong interest on key societal challenges. She is a member of two of the School's Research Centres, the Centre for Commercial Law and the Centre for Energy Law. Abbe is the School of Law lead for REF2021.  

Abbe was part of the interdisciplinary interinstitutional team which won the Coventry University Research Team of the Year 2017 for the InVisible Difference project.  Abbe frequently contributes to public consultations relevant to her research, eg EU "Multilateral Reform of Investment Dispute Resolution" (2017), UK BEIS "Clean Growth Strategy" (2017), UK Human Rights Committee inquiry "Defending Rights: attitudes to enforcement" (2018) and the Strategic Priorities of the Scottish Human Rights Commission (2019).  Abbe organised a public engagement event "Careful what we wish for? Clashing laws, energy and society" as part of the 2015 Being Human Festival.   Since 2018 Abbe has been part of an interdisciplinary team exploring Marine Genetic Resources in the UN Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction negotiations and inspired by this has qualified as a PADI open water diver, and in 2021 engaged in new forms of public engagement through song and online enlightenment salons through the Royal Society of Edinburgh's "Tea and Talk".       

Abbe published a monograph in 2012 with Edward Elgar Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Competition: Access to Essential Innovation and Technologyan edited collection in 2013 with Edward Elgar Environmental Technologies, Intellectual Property and Climate Change, with Charlotte Waelde an edited collection in 2018 with Edward Elgar Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Creative Industries and in 2019 a monograph with Edward Elgar Intellectual Property, Climate Change and Technology.    Her research has been supported by the Modern Law Review, the Clark Foundation for Legal Education, the British Academy (see website), the Carnegie Trust, the Wellcome Trust (see IGBE here), the British and Irish Law, Education and Technology Association and the Arts and Humanities Reseach Council (see eg InVisible Difference here and blog here).  

Abbe has also contributed to leading textbooks in the intellectual property and information technology field, notably Contemporary Intellectual Property Law and Policy with Oxford University Press.  

Current Research

Present projects involve culture, disability and heritage; innovation, energy and sustainability; access to marine genetic resources; and underpinning common themes and intertwining of relevant laws.  Her second monograph will be published by Edward Elgar in 2019.   

Find her work via Google Scholar and Researchgate 


Abbe is delighted to receive requests regarding PhD supervision in any aspect of intellectual property and technology law. 



Research Grants

"InVisible Difference" and "Resilience and Inclusion - Dancers as Agents of Change" funded by the AHRC, Co-I. P-I Professor Sarah Whatley, Coventry and other Co-Is Professor Charlotte Waelde (Exeter) and Dr Shawn Harmon (Edinburgh)

"Decision making across the information, technology and sustainability landscape: towards breadth and coherence"  funded by British and Irish Law Education and Technology Association

"Identity, Governance and Bodily Extensions" funded by the Wellcome Trust


Teaching Responsibilities

Intellectual Property

Law of Equity and Trusts 

Joint Programme Director, Law with English Law 

Professional Skills in Intellectual Property 

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Technology Committee of the Law Society of Scotland

COP26 & Climate Change Working Group of the Law Society of Scotland

Executive British and Irish Law, Education and Technology Association  

Lay member, NHSScotland Public Benefit and Privacy Panel and NHSCR Governance Board

Member of Online Identity Assurance Expert Group of the Scottish Government

Peer reviewer AHRC, Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, National University of Ireland, Irish Research Council, Research Foundation of Flanders, ACM, European Law Review, European Law Journal, Marine Policy, European Journal of Law and Technology, Legal Studies, Latvian Council of Science. Member of Editorial Board of International Review of Computers, Law and Technology.

Member of Steering Group, Women in Renewables in Scotland and Mentor (2014-16)  

External examiner: University of Hertfordshire, University of Exeter, University of Stirling, Bournemouth University, Queen Mary University of London, University of Cape Town, University of Bristol, University of Sussex. 

Previous roles: Chair Privacy Advisory Committee NSSScotland (2013-5), TSB Director's Ad Hoc Group on Intellectual Property Rights of the International Telecommunication Union (2010-2013), Committee of the Licensing Executive Society (Scotland) (2008-2015), Expert Panel member, Academy of Finland, 2013-4, Member of the editorial board of SCRIPT-ed. 

Admin Responsibilities

University Dean for Student Support

REF 21 School Lead

Former roles: Deputy Head of Law School, Senior Personal Tutor, Academic Line Manager, Programme Co-ordinator LLM in Intellectual Property Law, Programme Director LLB Law with English Law.  


Reviews, notes and working papers

(with Marcel Jaspars et al) Intellectual Property Rights: Implications for Deep Ocean Stewardship (DOSI working paper 2020)

(with Shawn Harmon and Charlotte Waelde) “SCRIPT: A Legacy of Vitality”, (2015) 12:1 SCRIPTed 51

(with Shawn Harmon et al), “Disability and the Dancing Body: A Symposium on Ownership, Identity and Difference in Dance”, (2015) 12:1 SCRIPTed 59

"InVisible Difference" LES NewXchange (No. 143, May 2014)  

"Dance, disability and law: a new approach" Open Scotland (9 April 2014)    

"Innovation and energy: where next?" Open Scotland (19 January 2014)  

Book Review of M Carrier “Intellectual Property and Competition: Critical Concepts in Intellectual Property Law” World Competition 2013

Book Review of E Reid "Personality, Privacy and confidentiality” Edin. L.R. 2013, 17(1), 100-102

'A new opportunity for delivering the commons: exploring the interface between different legal fields' presented at IASC Louvain-La-Neuve, 2012

(With Li, P.), “New conversations: the BILETA and Information Technology Think Tank collaborative consultation response programme”, European Journal of Law and Technology, 3(1) 2012

Book review of M Rimmer, ‘Intellectual Property and Climate Change: Inventing Clean Technologies’, Climate Law, 13, pp.198 - 200, 2012

'"Who Profits from Climate Change"' (2011) NewsXchange July

'Book Review, of R Macrory "Regulation, Enforcement and Governance in Environmental Law"' (2010) Climate Law 1 339-342

(with Morgera et al)'Towards a holistic approach to technology and climate change:what would form part of an answer?', School of Law Working Paper Series, No. 2010/32 (SSRN, 2010)

'Securing access to climate change technologies: answers and questions', School of Law Working Paper Series (SSRN, 2010)

'Report of Workshop 286 at Internet Governance Forum, Sharm El Sheikh, 2009 "Towards access: combining intellectual property, competition and human rights"' (2009)

'So What are Sports’ Legal Rights and Wrongs? Report of the AHRC SCRIPT Murrayfield Discussions' (2009) SCRIPT-ed pp155-159 6(1)

'IP, Regulation and the EnablingState' (2005) see

Conference Papers

"Law,  Sustainability and Technology: welcoming COP to Scotland" break about session, Law and Technology Conference of Law Society of Scotland 2020 (online)

"Student Transition Online: academic support" QAA Webinar, 2020

IUCN/DOSI Webinar "Building Ambition for the High Seas, Marine Genetic Resources", 2020 

"Regulatory transitions in energy and law  - the place of IP" at BILETA 2020 (online) 

"Benefit-sharing of marine genetic resources and intellectual property rights" at Enhancing the Knowledge Base for Cross-Sectoral Management and Ocean Governance in ABNJ of the South East Pacific, Lima, 2020

"Relationship between IPR in the BBNJ Agreement and Global and National IPR Regimes(s)"  at Joint MERGeR-IUCN Workshop "Assessing the Relationship between Access, Benefit-Sharing and Intellectual Property Rights over Marine Genetic Resources within the BBNJ negotiations" Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, 2019

"Marine Genetic Resources in the area beyond national jurisdiction: the place of (IP) law and governance" The Scottish Association for Marine Science, 2019   

"Rights to do and rights to prevent? New approaches to rights overlap across intellectual property, information control and oil and gas" ATRIP, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, 2019  

"Developing Mare Geneticum: rewarding and sustaining?" IGC3 UNCLOS ABNJ negotiations, 2019

"Law below and beyond frontiers: marine genetic diversity, IP and information" BILETA, Queen's University Belfast, 2019

"Courts, rights and science: (lack of?) lessons from IP and from the ocean" Environmental Governance and Human Rights in India: Science and Law" Northumbria University, 2019  

"Mare Geneticum and an Ecosystem Approach: Power, Openness and Sharing" IGC 2 UNCLOS ABNJ negotiations, 2019

"Exploring the relationship between the right to science, IP and engaging with climate change"  Financing and the Right to Science in Technology Transfer in the SDGs" University of Groningen, 2017    

"The object and purpose of IP: a National, Creative, Adversarial Approach" ATRIP Victoria University of Wellington, 2017  

"Parallel tracks? The national relationship between intellectual property and climate change" Queensland University of Technology, 2017

"Chasing conflict? The national relationship between intellectual property and climate change" University of Technology Sydney, 2017 

"Intellectual Property, Climate Change and Technology: must national creativity bring investor-state risk?" GELN/IPRA, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne 2017  

"Extended digital and physical selves: emerging technical and legal challenges?" BILETA, University of Minho, 2017

"The judiciary, intellectual property legislation and the search for holistic coherence" Society of Legal Scholars, University of Oxford, 2016  

"Creative Industries "Success" in IP Enforcement" Poster presentation European Policy in Intellectual Property, University of Oxford, 2016  

"Warnings (?) from elsewhere: intellectual property, trade, climate change and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership" at "The Trans-Pacific Partnership Intellectual Property and Trade" Queensland University of Technology, 2016

Organising and leading research workshop "Decision making across the information, techology and sustainability landscape: towards breadth and coherence" supported by BILETA and Arnold Porter, London 2016

"Looking after the future? The digital environment, intangible culture and sustainable development" BILETA, University of Hertfordshire, 2016 

"IP and climate change"  The Oxford Handbook on Intellectual Property @TAU, Tel Aviv, 2015

"Careful what we wish for? Clashing laws, energy and society" Being Human Festival, Aberdeen, 2015  

"Innovation, creativity and addressing societal problems: looking beyond geography and intellectual property" ATRIP, Cape Town, 2015

"Culture, diversity and power: what is the place of corporate social responsibility?", Valuing Knowledge, Creativity and Innovation, Plymouth University, 2015 

"Technology and the EU: is it all about money or are there more lessons to be learnt?, Learning by Doing, University of Edinburgh, 2015

"The implications of EU legal, regulatory and policy change for the development and adoption of environmentally sustainable technologies", Legal Frameworks for Renewables, All Energy, Glasgow, 2015

"Sustainability through law and regulation? Developing a Pilot Study for an integrated approach to decision making” BILETA, UWE, 2015 

“Disabled Dance: Cultural Heritage, Audience Literacy and Legal Contributions”, SLSA, Warwick, 2015  

Poster presentation "InVisible Difference" SLSA, Warwick, 2015

Poster presentation 'Judging (for) the future: Innovation, energy and conflict/resolution' SLS, Nottingham, 2014 

'Green superheroes, data and technology: spot the odd one out?' Gikii, Sussex, 2014

'Renewable energy, technology and incentives: the place of law and regulation?' All Energy, Aberdeen, 2014 (with Olivia Woolley)

'Too much of a right thing? Innovation, energy and conflict' BILETA, UEA 2014 

'What is the (proper) role of innovation in the energy industry. A theoretical and empirical analysis' Society of Legal Scholars, Edinburgh, 2013 

'What should be exceptional? Copyright, human rights, or taking disability seriously' ATRIP, Oxford, 2013 (with C Waelde)

'Energy, innovation and technology - without (legal) boundaries' BILETA, Liverpool, 2013 

'Teaching without Boundaries: Rights in the Digital Society' BILETA, Liverpool, 2013

'Dance, disability and law: an interdisciplinary approach to creativity' BILETA, Liverpool, 2013

‘Relevance to International Intellectual Property Governance: WIPO’ presented at The 2010 Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing: Implications for International Law and Implementation Challenges, Edinburgh 2011

'The problem of Technology?' presented at Scotland's National Action Plan for Human Rights Expert Meeting, Scottish Human Rights Commission, Edinburgh, 2011

'Some legal thoughts and questions' presented at Beyond Copyright? Dance and the Law, Coventry University, 2011

'Who Profits from Climate Change?' presented at Edinburgh International Science Festival, Edinburgh, 2011

'Steel fist in velvet glove?' presented at Obtaining, protecting and using essential environmental technologies: a holistic analysis Part II, Edinburgh, 2011

(with Rauhofer and Li) 'Responses to consultations - the BILETA contribution' presented at BILETA, ManchesterMetropolitanUniversity, 2011

'A European solution to the Intellectual Property problem: addressing challenges and preserving benefits' presented at BILETA, ManchesterMetropolitanUniversity, 2011

'Whose rights? The impact of human rights on patent litigation' presented at Society of Legal Scholars, Southampton, 2010

'Dispute resolution and virtual property: why, what and where...' presented at Digital Interactive Symposium 2010, University of Edinburgh, 2010

'There is more than one world....' presented at Gikii V The Voyage Home, Edinburgh, 2010

'Aims and Perspectives' presented at Obtaining, protecting and using essential environmental technologies: a holistic analysis, Edinburgh, 2010

'The place of intellectual property in a world of environmental change' presented at BILETA, Vienna, 2010

'Limiting the social power of intellectual property rights through human rights and competition' presented at Contextualising intellectual property in innovation systems perspective, European University Institute, Florence, 2010

Chaired international interdisciplinary workshop Internet Governance Forum, Egypt, November 2009 "Towards access: combining intellectual property, competition and human rights". Participants from range of countries and disciplines

'Securing access to climate change technologies: insights from the intellectual property/human rights interface' presented at Climate Change in the Courts: Emerging Patterns, Edinburgh, 2009

‘IP, competition and human rights: towards a wider regime’' presented at SCRIPT-ed "Governance of New Technologies: The Transformation of Medicine, Information Technology and Intellectual Property", Edinburgh, 2009

'Delivering harmony: the interface between IP, competition and human rights' presented at BILETA Annual Conference, Winchester, 2009

'A fresh and forward looking contribution to the national icon debate: the interface between patents, human rights and competition' presented at "Fishing and Farming Iconic Species in the Genomics Era: Cod and Salmon, St Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada, 2009

‘World IP Day – Green Innovation’ Presentations to primary school classes in Midlothian, May 2009

Organiser and co-chair "Questions of Sport.  What are the Legal Rights and Wrongs" at Murrayfield International Stadium, Edinburgh, November 2008.

‘Playing to win or the game's the thing: competition and human rights in virtual worlds’ GikII, London, 2007

‘Patents, competition and human rights’ presented at Society of Legal Scholars, Durham, 2007

‘Misuse and abuse of IP and competition: a role for human rights?’ Max Planck Institute, Munich, 2007

‘Creativity and reputation – law’s inadequacy?’ VARIE Image and Trust  interdisciplinary workshop Edinburgh, 2006

‘Must worlds collide?’ GikII Workshop, Computer Law World Conference  Edinburgh 2006 

The role of the WTO Dispute Settlement System in new approaches to intellectual property Ius Commune Edinburgh, 2005

IP, regulation and the enabling state” Society of Legal Scholars Strathclyde, 2005.

‘Guarding the guards: the practical impact of human rights on innovation and creativity’ British and Irish Legal Education and Technology Association (“BILETA”) Belfast, 2005 available via

- A vision for the future of ICT in Legal Education”PG Podium BILETA 2005 (Joint Prize)

Textbooks and contributions

(Brown, A., Kheria, S., Cornwell, J., Iljadica, M.), Contemporary Intellectual Property Law and Policy 5th edition, OUP, 2019 

(Brown A.,  Waelde, C., Kheria, S., Cornwell, J.), Contemporary Intellectual Property Law and Policy 4th edition, OUP, 2016

(Brown A.,  Waelde, C., Laurie, G., Kheria, S, Cornwell, J.), Contemporary Intellectual Property Law and Policy 3rd edition, OUP, 2013

(Brown A., MacQueen, H., Laurie, G., Waelde, C.), 'Contemporary Intellectual Property Law and Policy 2nd edition', OUP, 2010.

(Brown A.), 'Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet' in Waelde, C., Edwards, L. ed., Law and the Internet, pp.417 - 440, 2009.

Publications from previous RAE periods

(Brown A., Guadamuz, A., Hatcher, J.), 'The Impact of Free Trade Agreements on Information Technology Based Business', Geopolitics, History, and International Relations, 2(1), pp.62 - 123, 2010.

(Brown A., Castle, D., et al), ' Knowledge Management and the Contextualisation of Intellectual Property Rights in Innovation Systems', SCRIPT-ed, 7(1), pp.32 - 50, 2010

(Brown A.), 'The Interface Between Intellectual Property, Competition and Human Rights: Overview of Field and Proposed Contribution to Knowledge' in Manoj Kumar Pattanaik ed., Human Rights and Intellectual Property, 40, Icfai University Press, 2008

(Brown A.), 'Human rights: in the real world', Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice, 1(9), pp.603 - 613, 2006.

(Brown A.), 'Socially responsible intellectual property: a solution?', SCRIPT-ed, 2(4), pp.519 550, 2005.

(Brown A., Waelde, C.), 'Intellectual Property, Competition and Human Rights: the past, the present and the future', SCRIPT-ed, 2(4), pp.450 - 454, 2005.

(Brown A.), 'Illuminating European Trade Marks?', SCRIPT-ed, 1(1), pp.37 - 47, 2004.

(Brown A.), 'Liability of Internet Service Providers: Recent Developments' in Campbell, D. and Woodley, S. ed., E Commerce: Law and Jurisdiction , pp.95 - 116, Kluwer Law International, 2003.

(Brown A.), 'Post harmonisation Europe - united, divided or unimportant' (3), pp.275 - 286, Intellectual Property Quarterly , 2001.

(Brown A.), 'The increasing influence of intellectual property cases on the principles of statutory interpretation', European Intellectual Property Review, 18(10), pp.526 - 530, 1996