Not available in 2018/19
LL4BN      Half Unit
Innovation, Technology and Patent Law

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Siva Thambisetty NAB 7.29


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time) and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. 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: Information Technology, Media and Communications Law, Intellectual Property Law, Corporate and Commercial Law, International Business Law and Competition, Innovation and Trade Law.

This course is capped at 30 students. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou.


Students must have completed The Legal Protection of Inventions (LL4BM).

Course content

This course will build on the comprehensive and advanced introduction to patent law provided in LL4BM to address sophisticated issues of law and public policy through multiple perspectives. Thematic focus in seminars may include institutional theory, understanding of technology cycles, competition policy, international powers of norm-setting and trade related coercion, the reasonableness and confusion surrounding the demands of the global pharmaceutical industry, the utilitarian balance between patent rights and the freedom to conduct research, the meaning of efficiency in patent law and bioethics. Some of the case studies that will be covered include infringement and the freedom to repair, plant variety rights, synthetic biology, TRIPS and access to patented medicines, the research use exception, patent offices, patent litigation and the need for a unitary patent court, competition law and policies in the technology and pharmaceutical sector. This course complements several areas of national and international law and policy. 



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

This is a Lent term course, and consists of 10 weekly two-hour seminars in variable format including lecture-discussions, student-led seminars and guest lecturers where appropriate. Students are expected to participate in class discussions and critically explore further implications of the reading covered each week.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to produce one 2,000 word formative essay during the course.

Indicative reading

Weekly readings will include book chapters, law review articles, reports and studies as well as cases.

Robert Merges Justifying Intellectual Property Law HUP 2011

James Boyle The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind Yale University Press 2008 (free access online)

Boldrin and Levin Against Intellectual Monopoly CUP 2010.

Alexander Stack International Patent Law: Cooperation, Harmonisation and an Institutional Analysis of WTO and WIPO Edward Elgar 2012.

Justine Pila The Requirement for an Invention in Patent Law OUP 2010

A Pottage and B Sherman Figures of Invention: A History of Modern Patent Law OUP 2011


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2017/18: Unavailable

Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable

Controlled access 2017/18: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information