Special Topics in Intellectual Property

Subject LAWS40049 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

February, 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

The subject will be taught intensively.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The subject will be taught intensively.
Total Time Commitment:

120-140 hours.


Legal Method and Reasoning; Principles of Public Law; Torts; Obligations; Contracts; Property.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


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: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/.


Prof Megan Richardson


Melbourne Law School Student Centre
Email: law-studentcentre@unimelb.edu.au
Tel: +61 3 8344 4475

Subject Overview:

The principle topics covered will include:

  • Overview of intellectual property theories, policies and relevant sources of protection (statutory and common law);
  • Topical issues such as copyright term extension, contestable standards of 'authorship' and 'originality', fair dealing versus fair use defences, parallel imports, music downloading and legal liability issues, patent monopolies, patent thickets and patent 'trolls', trade mark dilution and 'taking advantage' of a trade mark's distinctiveness or reputation, character merchandising and personality rights, new and emerging areas of protection including traditional knowledge;
  • The interface between intellectual property and other policies including privacy, free speech and freedom of competition; balance between 'innovation today and innovation tomorrow';
  • Implications of new technologies such as the internet;
  • External standards including TRIPs and free trade agreements;
  • Possible futures of intellectual property and its legal protection.


The subject aims to promote:

  • Basic understanding of intellectual property law;
  • Awareness of topical issues and possible legal solutions;
  • Appreciation of intellectual property rights as operating in a broader legal, cultural, economic and political context;
  • Understanding of relevant legal theories;
  • Exercise of critical skills.


Either a research essay of 5,000 words or a final examination of two hours.

Prescribed Texts:

Printed materials will be available from the Melbourne Law School.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Attitudes towards knowledge that include valuing truth, openness to new ideas and ethics associated with knowledge creation and usage;
  • The capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of sources;
  • The capacity for critical and independent thought and reflection;
  • The capacity to solve problems, including through the collection and evaluation of information;
  • The capacity to communicate, both orally and in writing;
  • The capacity to plan and manage time.

The essay in this subject is regarded as a substantial piece of legal writing for honours purposes.

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