LLM International Business and Commercial Law

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Patent Law and Policy

Course unit fact file
Unit code LAWS70271
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


  • Introduces the relevant International and European dimensions to patent law to ensure that students gain an understanding of patent law as a global subject. 
  • The course progresses through patent application and prosecution, patentability, claim construction and infringement to contemporary "hot" topics situated within broader policy contexts. This year topic will be on the controversial role of patents in public health and access to medicines. 


  • Develop students' understanding of key principles and concepts in patent law and ability to use this knowledge in sophisticated ways to support critical assessment of the law and relevant literature. 
  • Enhance transferable skills including proficiency in oral and written communication; capacity for independent learning and capacity for working co-operatively with others. 
  • Develop research skills necessary for writing Masters-level research in this area. 

Teaching and learning methods

Semi-flipped approach in which the conventional notion of classroom learning is inverted; students are introduced to the learning material before class, with classroom time being used to deepen understanding through discussion with peers and problem-solving activities facilitated by the lecturer.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Understand the requirements in patent law for invention, novelty, inventive step, industrial application, exclusions, infringement, remedies and defences. 
  • Understand the value and importance of the patent system for research, technological development and economic advancement. 
  • Understand how to evaluate research and advanced scholarship in patent law.? Know the stages and timeline in patent prosecution 
  • Understand the difference between the procedure for international, European and national patent application. 
  • Identify key IP (Intellectual Property) law and policy making institutions and how they inter-relate. 

Intellectual skills

On completion of this unit successful students will:

  • Analyse the requirements for patentability and how these are applied in practice
  • Critically review literature related to this area of law and policy
  • Evaluate the role of morality in patent law
  • Articulate and defend the role of TRIPS flexibilities in protecting public health

Practical skills

On completion of this unit successful students will:

  • Ability to search the EPO (European Patent Organisation) patent database and understand how information is organised therein.
  • Demonstrate claim drafting skills in a workshop.
  • Ability to negotiate and complete legal documentation in a simulated case.
  • Ability to access policy information relating to patents, using a wide variety of sources.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the form and operation of patent law sufficient to ground progression to professional training and development in this area of the law either as a practitioner or policy adviser.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

On completion of this unit successful students will:

In addition to the practical skills outlined above,

  • Develop academic legal skills relating to analysis and argumentation that may be usefully applied in further study and in practice
  • Collaboration skills, by working effectively with people in a team to devise a solution to a legal problem.
  • Communication skills, by preparing legal advice in an appropriate language and format for their audience. Can understand and demonstrate active listening skills and recognise the importance of asking questions to clarify points. 
  • Problem solving skills, by breaking down a problem and applying their knowledge to find an effective solution. Recognise the value of how legal support plays into overall goals and priorities of people seeking assistance.
  • Influencing, by talking persuasively to a legal professional.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Formative feedback is provided informally within class discussions, quizzes and seminars. Students can submit answers to a range of exam-style questions for written feedback, throughout the course. 
Formative feedback is also provided on non-assessed coursework, offering detailed comments on strengths and specific areas for improvement. 
Face to face support/feedback is available for 2 hours each teaching week during office hours.

Recommended reading

L Bently, B Sherman, D Gangjee and P Thompson Intellectual Property Law (OUP 2022).

J Pila & P Torremans, European Intellectual Property Law (OUP, 2020).

G Dutfield & U Suthersanen, Global Intellectual Property Law (Edward Elgar 2020).

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 300

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Amanda Odell-West Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Formative on-line quiz.

Formative Assessment: one piece of non-assessed coursework (2000 words max).

Summative Assessment: written examination, open book. Must attempt three questions from a choice of six - mixed problem and essay questions.



See School of Law PG timetable.

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