Not available in 2015/16
LL4BQ      Half Unit
Trade Mark Law

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Alain Pottage


This course is available on the MSc in Law and Accounting, MSc in Law, Anthropology and Society, Master of Laws and Master of Laws (extended part-time study). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course will be relevant to the following LLM specialisms: Intellectual Property Law; Information Technology, Media and Communications Law


None, but is a pre-requisite for LL4BR

Course content

Trade marks are the most widespread (and widely litigated) species of intellectual property. This foundation course examines issues arising out of the registered protection of trade marks in the UK and EU, against the backdrop of international and comparative developments. The subject matter of trade mark protection has expanded to include sounds, scents, shapes, movements and pure colours. Similarly, the scope of protection has extended to protect not just the origin indication function but also guarantees of quality and brand image. Marks are simultaneously perceived as valuable assets for their proprietors, key components in competitive markets and effective shorthand for enabling expressive or critical agendas. Along with in depth analysis of legislation and case law, we reconsider the rationale of trade mark protection from various interdisciplinary vantage points such as economics, marketing, sociology, history and linguistics. Topics covered include: an introduction to national, regional and international trade mark registration systems; the background of unfair competition law; registration requirements; absolute grounds and relative grounds of refusal of registration; the scope of trade mark rights; the tests for infringement - confusion and dilution; exceptions and defences.


22 hours of seminars in the MT.

There will be a Reading Week in week 6 of MT.

Formative coursework

One 2,000 word essay.

Indicative reading

Core Textbook - L Bently and B Sherman Intellectual Property 4th ed (OUP, Oxford 2014).  Students will be expected to read widely in designated journals and books. All of the recommended cases and journal articles are available in electronic form and additional materials will be made available on the Moodle website which supports this course. A detailed reading list will be provided for the course, but the following are indicative: Available in the Library: L Bently, J Davis, J Ginsburg (eds) Trade Marks & Brands: An Interdisciplinary Critique (CUP, Cambridge 2008); A Arvidsson, Brands. Meaning and Value in Media Culture (Routledge, London 2006);  C Lury, Brands. The Logos of the Global Economy (Routledge, London 2004); G Dinwoodie & M Janis (eds) Trade Mark Law and Theory: A Handbook of Contemporary Research (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham 2008); S Maniatis & D Botis, Trade Marks in Europe: A Practical Jurisprudence 2nd ed (Sweet & Maxwell, London 2010).  


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills