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  3. Fundamentals of Intellectual Property

Fundamentals of Intellectual Property (LAWS90125)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeLAWS90125
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Fundamentals of Intellectual Property provides a good introduction to intellectual property (IP) for students wishing to pursue more specialised graduate studies in this area. It also provides a general overview of IP law for Australian and non-Australian students who are seeking this as part of an overall commercial and trade law program.

The objective of this subject is to provide an introduction to, and general overview of, the various Australian legal regimes protecting IP. IP laws, including those with respect to patents, designs and copyright, are directed at the encouragement and protection of innovations in science, technology and cultural products. They also operate, through the laws of trade marks and unfair competition, to provide protection for the later stages of development at which these innovations are disseminated and marketed. There is a potential for conflict between these laws and competition laws, and this interface will be discussed, together with an introduction to the international framework of treaties under which the owners of IP rights (IPRs) from one country can seek protection in another.

Completion of the first day of this subject (Overview of Intellectual Property one day seminar) meets the requirements of the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board (TTIPAB) for ‘Topic Group A2’.

Note: If you enrol in Fundamentals of Intellectual Property (LAWS90125), you do not need to enrol in Overview of Intellectual Property.

Principal topics include:

  • Introduction to the concept of and rationales for IPRs
  • Models used for the protection of IP (the patent model, the copyright model and variations of both)
  • Patents for invention, including:
    • Registration process
    • Subject matter
    • Conditions for protection
    • Exclusive rights and infringement
    • Defences
    • Innovation patents
  • Protection of confidential information and trade secrets under general law
  • Registered designs
  • Copyright and allied rights, including:
    • Subject matter protected - works and other subject matter
    • Conditions for protection
    • Duration
    • Exclusive rights
    • Exceptions
    • Licensing and exploitation
  • Trade marks and unfair competition
    • Protection for unregistered marks and other indicia through common law and equity
    • Protection for registered marks
  • Sui generis regimes of protection: geographic indications, plant breeder's rights, circuit layouts and other systems of protection
  • International treaty framework for IPRs
  • IPRs and competition law.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have a general and integrated understanding of the legal regimes concerned with the acquisition, maintenance, protection and exploitation of IPRs in Australia and of the policy objectives underlying these regimes
  • Have a general appreciation of the international framework of protection for IPRs
  • Have an appreciation of the interface between IPRs and competition laws
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these different legal regimes
  • Have the skills and ability to apply their knowledge to new situations encountered in their professional lives, whether as practising lawyers and attorneys or otherwise
  • Have a solid foundation knowledge to pursue other more advanced subjects in IP law in the Melbourne graduate programme
  • Have a sound appreciation of the factors and processes driving revision of the legal framework in Australia.

Last updated: 29 August 2019