Property in Invention and Creation

Subject LAWS50057 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 48 hours, 2 x 2-hour seminars per week.
Total Time Commitment: 192 hours.

733-510 Legal Method and Reasoning; 733-511 Principles of Public Law; 733-512 Torts; 733-513 Obligations; 733-514 Dispute Resolution; 733-515 Constitutional Law; 733-517 Property; 733-516 Contracts; 733-518 Legal Theory.

Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: None.
Non Allowed Subjects: None.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills, and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to providing support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc Prof David Brennan


Melbourne Law School Student Centre
Tel: +61 3 8344 4475
Subject Overview:

Proprietary legal rights attach to intangible subject matter such as creative works and industrial advances. Reflecting the increased commercial significance of such subject matter this is a fertile growth area in private law. It is also an area of increasing controversy in which the balance between the need to provide incentive and protection for private endeavour must be weighted against societal interests once acts of creation of invention have yielded valuable information goods.

Topics will include:

  • The equitable action of breach of confidence, including its relationship with the common law restraint of trade doctrine;
  • The protection of invention and innovation under the Patents Act 1990 (Cth);
  • The protection of authorship, productions and performers under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), including particular issues surrounding digitised networks;
  • The protection for designers of distinctive mass produced items under the Designs Act 2003 (Cth), including its relationship with copyright protection.

A student who completes Property in Invention and Creation should:

  • Appreciate the nature and policy roles of confidential information, patent, copyright and design law as legal regimes within private law;
  • Recognise the correct categorisation of subject matter within those legal regimes;
  • Determine the nature of exclusion associate with ownership or control of subject matter within those legal regimes;
  • Apply legal regimes in particular scenarios to resolve ambiguity and arrive at reasoned conclusions as to what outcomes may pertain in a court;
  • Evaluate those outcomes against the public policy roles of the legal regimes.
  • 4,000-word essay (50%);
  • 4,000-word take-home exam (50%).
Prescribed Texts:
  • Printed materials will be available from the Melbourne Law School;
  • Patents Act 1990 (Cth);
  • Copyright Act 1968 (Cth);
  • Designs Act 2003 (Cth).
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

A student who completes Property and Invention in Creation should have developed a capacity to:

  • Assess the nature and role of confidential information, patent, copyright and design law within broader economic and moral context;
  • Analyse judgements, statutes and secondary materials which related to confidential information, patent, copyright and design law;
  • Write legal opinions on particular scenarios in which confidential information, patent, copyright and design law issues are implicated, including being able to comment on the desirability of the application of the law.

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