The University of New South Wales

go to UNSW home page

Handbook Home

Foundations of Intellectual Property Law - JURD7321

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 3
Enrolment Requirements:
Prerequisite: LAWS2381, Co-requiste LAWS2311 , Exclude LAWS3046 & LAWS3248; Prerequisite: JURD7281 , Co-requiste JURD7211 , Exclude JURD7446 & JURD 7448
Excluded: LAWS3021
Fee Band: 3 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


This course introduces students to the law of copyright (including moral rights), registered designs, trade marks, passing off, s.52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974, breach of confidence, and patents. Students will study the fundamental statutory provisions and common law principles that define the subject matter protected by these doctrines, as well as the pre-conditions for protection and the nature of infringement. They will learn how to approach practical intellectual property problems, and will gain insight into the interrelationships between intellectual property’s various doctrines.

The course aims to build solid foundations for lawyers not specialising in intellectual property, as well as those who might later undertake further studies to specialise in this area of law.

Recommended Prior Knowledge

This course is designed for students wishing to gain an integrated understanding and working knowledge of the core principles of intellectual property law’s main doctrines in a single course.

Students wishing to study intellectual property’s various doctrines in more technical depth should consider taking either:
  • JURD7446 Intellectual Property 1 and JURD7448 Intellectual Property 2 (instead of JURD7321 Foundations of Intellectual Property Law; or
  • JURD7321 Foundations of Intellectual Property Law plus further intellectual property studies (such as the elective JURD7357 Advanced Intellectual Property Policy and Practice or postgraduate studies in intellectual property law).
Students will not be permitted to study JURD7321 Foundations of Intellectual Property Law and JURD7446 Intellectual Property 1 and/or JURD7448 Intellectual Property 2.

Course Objectives

The general aims of this course are to:
  • Develop skills in understanding the complexities of IP law
  • Critique the major doctrinal, theoretical and policy arguments relating to the various categories of IP
  • Foster debate about the adequacy of the current state of IP law
  • Canvass ways in which the law might be improved
On the completion of study of each area students should be able to:
  • Effectively identify the kind and type of IP problem presented
  • Locate the relevant statutory provisions
  • Discuss difficulties that may arise in application
  • Identify potential for further law reform
  • Be aware of the practical limits of statute and litigation in resolving IP disputes
  • Note the economic realities that lead to particular outcomes

Main Topics

  • Copyright
  • Designs
  • Confidential information
  • Patents
  • Trade marks
  • Business reputation


2,500 Word Problem Question 30% (50% if not counting CP)
3,000 Word Problem Question or Essay (student's choice) 50%
Class Participation 20% (opt-in)

Course Texts


  • J. McKeough, K. Bowrey & P. Griffith, Intellectual Property Commentary and Materials, 2007, 4th ed, LBC
  • Butterworths Intellectual Property Collection, 2008, Butterworths OR online access to relevant IP legislation.

S.Ricketson,M.Richardson and M.Davison,Intellectual Property: Cases, Materials and Commentary, 2009, 4th ed, LexisNexis Butterworths


A full reading guide will be handed out in the first class. It contains comprehensive details of the specific readings for each class.

URL for this page:

© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.