The University of Southampton
Courses

LAWS3166 IP Law 2: Passing Off, Trade Marks, Breach of Confidence and Introduction to Patent Law

Module Overview

This module is composed of two sections. The first section is devoted to exploring the legal regimes (passing off and trade marks) that regulate the use in trade of certain signs or symbols in connection with particular goods or services. The second section explores the protection available to confidential information, also intended as personal information (privacy), and provides an overview of the main principles of patent law. Some of the questions addressed in this module include: What form of IP protection is available to those businesses that use signs and symbols in the course of trade? What is a trade mark, and what are its functions? What is character and personality merchandising, and how can you have someone endorse your products? When are you bound to an obligation of confidentiality? Why does the UK not have a tort of privacy, and what kind of protection is available to personal information? What are the main principles of UK patent law? This module allows and encourages you to undertake a critical analysis of the state of the law in the field of passing off, trade mark law, confidential information, and patent law, as well as international influences and the impact of harmonisation at the European level. Whilst lecture and tutorial materials are provided, significant emphasis is placed on self-learning, enabling lectures and tutorials to concentrate on specific topics and issues.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This modules aims to provide students with a thorough understanding of the law of and relevant policy debate on passing off, trade marks, breach of confidence and patent law, at both the EU and UK levels.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the main principles of UK law in relation to the law of passing off
  • the main principles of UK and EU law in relation to the registration and infringement of trade marks
  • the main principles of UK and EU law in relation to the law of confidential information, including personal privacy
  • the main principle of UK and EU law in relation to patent law
  • the key policy issues relating to A1., A2., A3., and A4.
  • current recommendations for reform.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • apply the law in relation to the action of passing off, the registration and infringement of trade marks, the law of confidential information, the main principles of patent law;
  • critically analyse the law in relation to passing off, trade marks, confidential information, and patent law
  • demonstrate research skills and knowledge of relevant legal resources in preparation for classes;
  • undertake critical analysis of relevant legal issues and legal material
  • demonstrate developed competence in the use of key online and offline IP legal resources.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate developed the ability in solving problems.
  • demonstrate a highly developed ability to clearly communicate and discuss complex ideas and arguments in writing indicating an appreciation of academic integrity

Syllabus

The syllabus for the ‘IP law 2: passing off, trade marks, confidential information, and patent law’ is composed of 4 themes: passing off, trade marks, confidential information, and patent law. Specific subjects to be covered may change, but this is an indicative outline of the usual topics: 1. Introduction to passing off and trade marks 2. Passing off: requirement of goodwill 3. Passing off: misrepresentation 4. Passing off: damage 5. Trade marks: registration 6. Trade marks: subject matter 7. Trade marks: absolute and relative grounds for refusal 8. Trade marks: infringement 9. Trade marks: defences 10. Introduction to the law of confidential information 11. Obligation of confidence 12. Personal information 13. Main principles of patent law

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching follows a lecture/seminar format with weekly 2-hour classes. Learning activities are partially directed by selective suggestions: but – as is felt appropriate for a Part 3 commercial law subject – you are also encouraged to engage in self-directed learning, particularly in preparation for classes. Preparation for and participation in classes will develop your: • Understanding of and ability to apply and critically analyse the laws of passing off, trade marks, breach of confidence and patents; • Skills in managing and researching diverse legal sources.

TypeHours
Revision15
Preparation for scheduled sessions100
Seminar20
Completion of assessment task15
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Bently and Sherman (2014). Intellectual Property Law,. 

Christie and Gare. Blackstone's Statutes on Intellectual Property. 

Assessment

Formative

Essay or problem question

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.5 hours) 100%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.5 hours) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.5 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Textbooks

You will be expected to buy both of the core texts. Bently – Sherman, Intellectual Property Law, 4th edn (OUP: 2014). Christie – Gare, Blackstone's Statutes on Intellectual Property (Blackstone's Statute Series), latest edition available.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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