Patent rights are the link between your index finger that slides or twirls to open your smartphone, a synthetically generated living cell, the diagnostic test for breast cancer, the velcro on your gym bag and the connectivity we often take for granted on social media. Over the last two decades patents have moved from an obscure, arcane subject to being the main stay of domestic and international debates spanning issues as wide ranging as innovation policies, access to medicines, international trade and development, ethical implication of biological research and commercialisation and the sustainable use of genetic resources.
This course will critically examine core concepts of the protection of inventions in UK/European, US and International patent law often taking a comparative perspective. We examine specific industrial or technology sectors such as software, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. The course takes a broad approach to questions of patentability, and through readings and discussion you will investigate the economic and political dimensions of the use, control and exploitation of technology and innovation and the impact of structural inequalities. This year 2021 in particular, the devastating effects of the pandemic invites us to contemporaneously study the effort to provide vaccines and treatments for Covid-19 and analyse what it teaches us about the intersection between market incentives like patents and structural inequality.
You do not need prior exposure to intellectual property law or a science background to take the course. You will be supported throughout the course to understand technologies via their legally significant attributes.
Lecturer: Dr Siva Thambisetty
Module Code: LL435E