Skip to Content


Last modified: 25 May 2018 11:16

Course Overview

The course explores patents (right to control an invention) and trade marks (right to control the use of a sign, commonly, but not necessarily, a logo).  We will consider  theoretical arguments for and against them, thresholds which must be met for them to exist and be infringed, the relevant international, regional and UK frameworks and limits on the rights conferred. Particular attention will be paid to contemporary controversies.  We will also consider the various avenues by which these registered rights can be obtained and the relevance of other legal fields to the power conferred.  Assessment is by essay and exam.  

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 25 credits (12.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Prof Abbe Brown

Qualification Prerequisites

  • One of Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4 or Programme Level 5

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Law (LS) (Studied)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Course Aims: 1. This course explores from a critical legal perspective, patent and trade mark law, within their wider legal and policy context. 2. It will develop legal research, reasoning, analysis and legal argument skills; oral, written and team working skills, and the opportunity to respond constructively to feedback. Main Learning Outcomes: Knowledge and Understanding By the end of this course you should: i) Have formed a critical view of the requirements for a patent to be granted and enforced; ii) Have evaluated a view on the limits on patents and the adequacy of this; iii) Considered the extent to which the patent system meets the needs of contemporary society; iv) Have formed a critical view on the requirement for a trade mark registration to be obtained and enforcement; v) Have evaluated a view on the limits on patents and the adequacy of this; vi) Considered the extent to which the trade mark system meets the needs of contemporary society; vii) Evaluated critically the ongoing role of passing off; viii) Be familiar with how a patent and trade mark are obtained; ix) An awareness of the relationships between patents, trademarks and other intellectual property rights and other relevant systems of law. Subject-Specific Skills and Concepts Students will be able to: 1. Have developed your research, analytical, oral, communication and problem identification and solving skills, through preparing for and attending at seminars; 2. Have working independently and as part of a team in the formative exercises which will be carried out in seminars; 3. Improved skills in respect of time management and working under pressure in preparing the essay and sitting the examination; 4. Developed independent research skills through preparing the essay, including through differentiating between and using appropriate primary and secondary sources to support arguments you make, use recognised methods of citation; identifying and retrieving up-to-date legal information using paper and electronic sources; 5. Applied knowledge and analysis creatively to complex situations in order to provide arguable solutions to concrete problems by presenting a range of viable options from a set of facts and law; 6. Thought critically and made critical judgements on the relative and absolute merits of particular arguments and solutions and make choices as to the most preferable; 7. Displayed informed knowledge and understanding of the social, economic, moral and ethical contexts in which law operates by demonstrating legal knowledge in association with related policy, underlying social conditions, professional ethical issues and moral issues. Key Skills (Transferable) 1. Communicate orally and in writing; 2. Ability to work effectively in small groups to contribute to the group’s task; 3. Ability to work independently, to organise and manage time, stress and effort in performance of tasks; 4. Problem solving skills; 5. Critical analysis; 6. Logical argument; 7. An ability to synthesise and organise complex materials and arguments; 8. With limited guidance act independently, and where appropriate as part of team, in planning and undertaking tasks; 9. Conduct formal and informal oral presentations; 10. Make appropriate use of technology in research, writing and oral presentations; and 11. Reflect on own learning and to seek and make use of feedback. Content: This course explores from a critical legal perspective, patent and trade mark law, within their wider legal and policy context.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: Assessed essay (25%), written examination (2 hours) (75%). Resit: None.

Formative Assessment

1. Formative essay 2. Mock exam


On a less formal basis, verbal feedback is given during seminars. For the mock exam and formative essay, written feedback will be provided to students within 3 working weeks and the mock exam will be discussed in the revision seminar.

Course Learning Outcomes


Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.