LL435E      Half Unit
Innovation, Technology and Patent Law

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Siva Thambisetty NAB 7.29


This course is available on the Executive LLM. This course is not available as an outside option.

This course will be offered on the Executive LLM during the four year degree period. The Department of Law will not offer all Executive LLM courses every year, although some of the more popular courses may be offered in each year, or more than once each year. Please note that whilst it is the Department of Law's intention to offer all Executive LLM courses, its ability to do so will depend on the availability of the staff member in question. For more information please refer to the Department of Law website.

Course content

This course critically examines UK and European patent law from different perspectives including the economic case for incentivising innovation, industry and technology-specific legal doctrine, international economic and political frameworks, institutional features, and national, regional and international pressures to harmonise patent law. Case studies from comparable jurisdictions such as US, India or Latin America will be used where appropriate. The course aims to deliver a sound grounding in legal principles while exploring unprecedented challenges raised by emerging technologies through appropriate case studies. Topics include 1) The economics of innovation and patenting/ Jurisprudential rationale for patents, legislative overview – international and domestic. 2) Priority, Novelty and Inventiveness 3) Industrial Application, disclosure and Genomic Inventions 4) The rationale for subject matter exclusions (Methods of medical treatment, diagnostic methods, computer programs, business methods, mental acts, discoveries, genetically modified animals, human embryonic stem cells) 5) Claim drafting, purposive construction and the doctrine of equivalents. 6) Direct/indirect infringement – international concerns 7) The research use exception and its application to post-genomics science 8) The TRIPS Agreement and the global pharmaceutical industry 9) The problem of patent enforcement 10) Patent offices and the property parameters of patents 11) Synthetic biology 12) Competition policy in the technology and pharmaceutical sector. This course complements a number of areas of national and international law and policy. 

Students do not need a scientific background and will be supported in learning technical aspects. 


24-26 hours of contact time.

Formative coursework

Students will have the option of producing a formative exam question of 2000 words to be delivered one month from the end of the module’s teaching session by email.

Indicative reading

Bently and Sherman Intellectual Property Law, OUP 2014, Pila The Requirement for an Invention in Patent Law Oxford University Press 2010, Spence Intellectual Property, Clarendon Law Series 2007, Roughton, Cook and Spence (Eds) The Modern Law of Patents Butterworths 2005, Landes and Posner The Economic Structure of Intellectual Property Law Harvard University Press 2003, Ducor, Patenting the Recombinant Products of Biotechnology, Kluwer Publications 1998, Jaffe & Lerner, Innovation and its Discontents, Princeton University Press 2004.


Either a take-home examination or 8,000 word assessed essay (100%).

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2015/16: Unavailable

Average class size 2015/16: Unavailable

Controlled access 2015/16: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills