Owning Ideas: Creation, Innovation & Law

Subject LAWS30017 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 1.5-hour lecture per week, and one 1.5-hour workshop per week.
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours.


Completion of 100 points of undergraduate study.



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/.


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

Subject Overview:

The capacity to generate ideas is both a fundamental characteristic of human beings and the source of humankind's cultural and economic advancement. This subject is concerned with the law's response to the issues of when, how and by whom ideas can be owned. In particular, it explores the rationale for and operation of intellectual property regimes - copyright, patent and trade mark laws - as they apply to the creative arts, the sciences and the business world.

The principal topics covered are:

  • Why protect ideas?
  • What rights are provided to the creators of literature, art, music and film?
  • How can innovators protect their inventions?
  • When can a brand owner prevent a competitor from making a similar-named or similar-looking product?
  • When should others be able to make use of protected ideas?
Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • Appreciate the cultural and economic objectives and challenges in protecting the products of human creativity and innovation;
  • Recognise the types of creations and innovations protected by the law; and
  • Understand the basic features of the protection provided by the law to those creations and innovations.
  • Class participation (5%);
  • Multiple-choice test undertaken in week 5 (10%);
  • Written assignment of 2,000 words, due no later than the end of week 6 (25%);
  • A 2-hour written examination (60%).

Satisfactory completion of both the assignment and the examination is necessary to pass the subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available from the University Co-Op Bookshop.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

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

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

  • The capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of textual materials;
  • The capacity to engage in critical thinking and to bring to bear a range of conceptual analyses upon a given subject matter;
  • The capacity for independent thought and reflection;
  • The capacity to articulate knowledge and understanding of complex ideas in oral and written form; and
  • The ability to confront unfamiliar and challenging issues and to consider appropriate legal and policy responses to them.
Related Breadth Track(s): Law - Media and Intellectual Property Law

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