LL4BR      Half Unit
Trademarks, Brands and Branding: Contemporary Issues

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Anne Barron


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: Competition, Innovation and Trade Law, Corporate and/or Commercial Law; Information Technology, Media and Communications Law; Intellectual Property Law.



Course content

This course situates the key concepts of trademark law in relation to analyses of brands and branding offered by leading contemporary social scientists. The focus is on the law of registered trademarks, with UK law treated as exemplifying the process of harmonisation currently affecting all EU Member States’ trademark regimes. Topics to be covered include: histories of brands, branding and trademarks; criteria for registering trademarks; the scope and content of the right of the trademark proprietor; and restrictions on the right of the trademark proprietor. Throughout, emphasis is placed on the law’s role in underpinning marketing processes that now structure everyday life in ever more intense and intimate ways, and consideration is given to the links between these processes and wider changes in economy and society such as globalisation, financialisation and informationalisation


20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

One 2,000 word essay.

Indicative reading

There is no set text: readings will be assigned on a weekly basis. The core reading will include legislative texts and leading cases, but also journal articles and book chapters, and these will range across a number of disciplines including media and communication studies, cultural studies, economic sociology, business studies and anthropology. The following list is indicative: Melissa Aronczyk and Devon Powers, Blowing Up the Brand: Critical Perspectives on Promotional Culture (Peter Lang, 2010); Adam Arvidsson, Brands: Meaning and Value in Media Culture (Routledge, 2006); Lionel Bently and Brad Sherman Intellectual Property Law 4th ed. (OUP, Oxford 2014); Ruth Clifton, Brands and Branding 2nd ed. (Economist Books, 2009); Tobias Cohen Jehoram et al. European Trademark Law (Kluwer, 2010); Rosemary Coombe, The Cultural Life of Intellectual Properties (Duke UP, 1998); Paul du Gay and Michael Pryke, Cultural Economy: Cultural Analysis and Commercial Life (Sage, 2002); Jonathan Gabay, Brand Psychology: Consumer Perceptions, Corporate Reputations (Kogan Page, 2015);  MPI, Study on the Overall Functioning of the European Trademark System (2011); Naomi Klein, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (Flamingo, 2000); Celia Lury, Brands: The Logos of the Global Economy (Routledge, 2004); Liz Moor, The Rise of Brands (Berg, 2007); Kevin Roberts, Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands (Powerhouse Books 2006); Ilanah Simon Fhima, Trade Mark Dilution in Europe and the United States (OUP, 2011).



Essay (100%, 8000 words) in the ST.

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