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The capacity to generate ideas is both a fundamental characteristic of human beings and the source of humankind's cultural and economic advancement. This subject is concerned with the law's response to the issues of when, how and by whom ideas can be owned. In particular, it explores the rationale for and operation of intellectual property regimes - copyright, patent and trade mark laws - as they apply to the creative arts, the sciences and the business world.
The principal topics covered are:
- Why protect ideas?
- What rights are provided to the creators of literature, art, music and film?
- How can innovators protect their inventions?
- When can a brand owner prevent a competitor from making a similar-named or similar-looking product?
- When should others be able to make use of protected ideas?
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should:
- Appreciate the cultural and economic objectives and challenges in protecting the products of human creativity and innovation;
- Recognise the types of creations and innovations protected by the law; and
- Understand the basic features of the protection provided by the law to those creations and innovations.
On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:
- The capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of textual materials;
- The capacity to engage in critical thinking and to bring to bear a range of conceptual analyses upon a given subject matter;
- The capacity for independent thought and reflection;
- The capacity to articulate knowledge and understanding of complex ideas in oral and written form; and
- The ability to confront unfamiliar and challenging issues and to consider appropriate legal and policy responses to them.
Last updated: 16 June 2020