LLM International Business and Commercial Law

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Trade Mark Law and Policy

Course unit fact file
Unit code LAWS70261
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


Trade Mark law is one of most rapidly evolving parts of Intellectual Property Rights due to its interdisciplinary nature and its direct impact our daily lives. Consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by trade marks (brands) and their reputation while businesses use trade marks as an organisational tool to structure their firms and to attract consumers and gain their loyalty to their products.

This course examines the law governing trade marks, their registration and their legal protection through property rights. Trade Marks law has been largely harmonised throughout the European Union and the course will focus on the provisions of the relevant national laws and European Directives and their application by the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The course will also assess the economic rational for trade marks through a Law and Economic perspective. The course will also cover topics such as branding, innovation, comparative advertisement as well as parallel importation and the interaction between these areas and the European Trade Mark Law after Brexit.


  • To provide a detailed understanding of UK,European and International Trade Mark Law, in line with the general aims of the LL.M and those particular to the IP stream of the programme;
  • To provide a detailed knowledge of the registered trade mark system;
  • To assess current and likely developments in UK and European Trade Mark Law ;
  • To explore trade marks as a property and as an economic right.
  • To equip students with the theoretical framework necessary to analyse legal doctrine and developments critically;
  • To develop students’ research skills.

Teaching and learning methods

  • 30 hours of lectures(including 2 hours of revision lectures)
  • 6 seminars (6 hours).
  • 10 hours of weekly direction and feedback drop-in session ( course-Specific office hours).

All materials, detailed lecture handouts and seminar handouts as well as other forms of guidance will be posted on Blackboard.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Understand the framework of registered trade mark law as well as comparing and contrasting registered protection with common law protection;
  • Understand the rationale, moral and economic, behind the European Trade Marks system;
  • Understand the interaction of trade marks with advertisement and in particular comparative advertising;
  • Understand the relationship between trade marks protection and the practice of parallel importation.

Intellectual skills

  • Apply the specialist knowledge acquired in this course by discussing legal issues critically;
  • Use analytical techniques to address specific legal problems;
  • Develop arguments in a logical and coherent manner.

Practical skills

  • Research legal and other relevant information from a number of paper and electronic sources, including the World Wide Web;
  • Present complex ideas and legal arguments orally and in writing

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Develop the analytical, critical, evaluative and presentational skills indicated above
  • Understand and apply time-mangement skills
  • Acquire the experience to work as a team member and as a leader of a team.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

  • Formative feedback is made available in this course unit through class presentations and peer assessment (oral feedback will also be available in the unit’s seminars).
  • An optional un-assessed course work will be set and written feedback provided on the answers.
  • An outline of issues for the exam question will be published after the final assessment on Blackboard.

Recommended reading

There are some specialist textbooks on Trade Mark Law such as:

•      Michaels & A. Norris, A Practical Approach to Trade Mark Law (OUP)

•      J. Phillips, Trade Mark Law: A Practical Anatomy (OUP, 2003) is a much more substantial work. However, it is increasingly out-of-date thoough it contains much useful material.

However, it is probably better to refer to chapters on the Trade Mark Law in the latest edition of a substantial IP textbook. The leading ones include:

•      Intellectual Property Law, by L. Bently & B. Sherman, 5th ed. (2018)

•      Intellectual Property: Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks & Allied Rights, by W. Cornish, D. Llewelyn & T. Aplin 9th ed., (2019).


More details will be announced at first lecture, and will be made available on Blackboard beforehand.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 3
Independent study hours
Independent study 300

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Pinar Oruc Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Important Additional notes & Information

1. The course is available to all LLM students

2. For students wanting to undertake a dissertation on this subject, certain topics/titles will be suggested as suitable themes. Students could also submit their own titles. Approval will mainly be based on the course unit director’s assessment of whether the proposed research is manageable given the time constraints and the length of the research project. Approval will not be based on a subjective or objective assessment of an individual student’s abilities or understanding.

Return to course details