LLM International Business and Commercial Law / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Patent Law and Policy

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
Offered by Law
Available as a free choice unit? No


• 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.

Learning outcomes


Teaching and learning methods

This course unit is taught using a variety of delivery methods adapted to the current situation, incorporating socially distanced face to face and online teaching, with a range of real-time and asynchronous activities that students can complete on their own schedule.

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 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 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.
  • Have worked in a team and individually
  • Improved IT skills, e.g. specialist database searching.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Formative feedback is provided informally within class discussions, quizzes and seminars. Students are able to 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 3 hours each teaching week during office hours 

Recommended reading

L Bently, B Sherman, D Gangjee and P Thompson Intellectual Property Law (OUP 2018).

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: 3-hour 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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