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Intellectual Property Law (LAWS30017)

Undergraduate level 3Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 3
Subject codeLAWS30017
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

The capacity to create and innovate is both a fundamental characteristic of human beings and the source of humankind's cultural and economic advancement. Being products of the human intellect (i.e. “intellectual property”), creations and innovations, and signifiers of reputation, are intangibles – which makes the transmission of them easy, and the prevention of their use by others hard. This subject is concerned with the law's response to the issues of whether, when, how and by whom creations, innovations and signifiers of reputation can be protected against unauthorised use. In particular, it explores the rationales for, and the operation of, the main intellectual property protection 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 creation, innovation and signifiers of reputation?
  • What rights are provided to the creators of literature, art, music and film?
  • How may innovators protect their inventions?
  • When can a brand owner prevent a competitor from making a similar-named or similar- looking product?
  • In what situations can a third party make use of another’s intellectual property?

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, innovations and signifiers of reputation protected by the law; and
  • understand the basic features of the protection provided by the law to that intellectual property.

Generic skills

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.

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

It is strongly recommended that students have completed at least 100 points of undergraduate study before enrolling in this subject. The subject level is an indicator as to the difficulty of the subject and expected workload.

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



Attendance and participation (10%);

Multiple-choice test undertaken in week 5 (10%);

Written assignment of 2,500 words, due no later than the end of week 6 (25%);

2-hour written examination held during the main examination period (55%).

The due dates of the above assessment will be available to students via the LMS subject page.

Dates & times

  • Semester 2
    Principal coordinatorAndrew F. Christie
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours36 hours (one 1.5-hour lecture and one 1.5-hour workshop per week)
    Total time commitment136 hours
    Teaching period29 July 2019 to 27 October 2019
    Last self-enrol date 9 August 2019
    Census date31 August 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail27 September 2019
    Assessment period ends22 November 2019

    Semester 2 contact information

Time commitment details

136 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    • Printed subject materials will be available from the University Co-Op Bookshop.
  • Breadth options
  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    If required, please contact law-admissions@unimelb.edu.au for subject coordinator approval.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 18 July 2019