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Patent Law (LAWS70021)

Graduate coursework level 7Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 7
Subject codeLAWS70021
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

For at least 400 years, patent law has been the primary regulatory mechanism for optimising innovation. With more than two million patent applications filed annually around the world, the patent system is both highly complex and of great economic importance. This subject provides the foundational knowledge necessary for a professional understanding of patent law and the patent system. It does so through a combination of instructional sessions and hands-on workshop sessions. These provide students with a detailed understanding of the principles of patent law, with a particular focus on the requirements for the grant of a valid patent, and for infringement of a patent, under Australian and New Zealand law. In the workshop sessions, students apply the principles of patent validity and patent infringement to actual prior art, patent claims and infringing embodiments. Successful completion of this subject satisfies the knowledge requirements specified by the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board (TTIPAB) for Topic Group E: Patent Law.

Principal topics include:

  • Rationales for and alternatives to patents
  • Trade secrets protection (breach of confidence)
  • Patentable subject matter
  • Requirements for patentability – novelty, inventive step and utility
  • Specification requirements – clarity, support, disclosure and best method
  • Fraud, false suggestion and misrepresentation
  • Infringement, defences and remedies
  • Inventorship, entitlement and ownership
  • Duration and commercialisation of patent rights
  • Future of the patent system.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the principles of patents and the patents systems in Australia and New Zealand relating to the grant, exercise and exploitation of patents for invention and the protection of undisclosed information outside the patent system, including recent developments in this field of law and practice
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal rules
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field, such as the definition of patentable subject, standards of patentability, the scope of exclusive rights, defences to protection, and the interaction between patents and other areas of legal protection, such as the action for breach of confidence
  • Have a sound appreciation of the factors and processes driving governmental and parliamentary revision of the legal framework
  • Have an advanced understanding of the situations in which issues relating to the protection, whether by patent or otherwise, of technical innovations made by clients may arise
  • Have a an awareness of the legal regimes relating to these areas in an international context
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to patent law and the law relating to undisclosed information, and to critically evaluate the existing legal principles and policy rationales involved in these forms of protection
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to the protection of patents for invention, including standards of patentability, issues of construction and the availability of second tier forms of protection, such as the “innovation patent”
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding patent law and the protection of undisclosed information to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences, including clients
  • Be able to demonstrate autonomy, judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of patent law.

Last updated: 11 November 2018